ISLAMABAD, (Parliament Times) : Known for its high nutritional and medicinal values, more than 100 Kiwi plants were planted for the first time in Islamabad aimed at encouraging farmers across the country to grow the high value fruit as a source of cash income.
Zarai Taraqiati Bank Ltd (ZTBL) in collaboration with Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University inaugurated the project in farm of ZTBL during a ceremony attended by heads and agriculture experts of the two institutions.
Kiwifruit consumption is increasing rapidly in Pakistan and it is being imported from China, New Zealand and Iran. Kiwifruit contains more vitamins C than an equivalent amount of orange besides containing high level of potassium, carbohydrates, proteins and antioxidants. President ZTBL Muhammad Shahbaz Jameel on the occasion said that lack of awareness, high input cost and unavailability of planting materials have kept our farmers at bay and this is the reason that Kiwifruit plants are not grown in Pakistan.
“We have launched Kiwifruit plantation project only to encourage our farmers that we can do it. ZTBL and experts of Pir Mehr Ali Shah Agriculture University are available to educate our farmers. President ZTBL said this was high time to educate our farmers on modern scientific agriculture lines and equip them financially and technically so that we could reduce our dependency on other countries regarding imports of agriculture products.
Mr Jameel informed that farm house of ZTBL will be converted into incubation (demonstration) center for students and farmers for ideas sharing as it will boost agriculture and educate farmers about technical know-how of modern agriculture techniques. Vice Chancellor Pir Mehr Ali Shah Agriculture University Rawalpindi Dr Qamar Zaman said that the high nutritional and medicinal value of Kiwifruits have invited attention of consumers across the world. He said the plantation of Kiwifruits will be extended to Attock, Chakwal and foothills of Margallas and then other parts of the country for commercial purposes as the was suitable for the cultivation.
Asadullah Habib, Head Planning and Research Division ZTBL said that the bank was aggressively participating in Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Plant for Pakistan’ and the Kiwis plantation project is also part of it. He said so far ZTBL has planted more than 150000 trees across the country adding that the bank was in touch with other agriculture universities for introducing trees and fruit plants that had never been grown in the country in the past…