ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan Tuesday informed the House that the government was taking concrete steps to decrease dependence on imported wheat and palm oil.
Responding to a question, the minister said the government had ensured supply of farm inputs for wheat production besides developing and promoting new high yielding wheat varieties.
He said dissemination of good agricultural practices through provincial agricultural department using field visits and electronic and print media, Wheat Productivity Enhancement Programme (WPEP) initiated at NARC and Provincial Research Institutes, wheat productivity enhancement competition among small to medium scale farmers at provincial level were also among some of the steps taken by the government to enhance wheat production.
Regarding enhancement of Palm oil production, Sikandar said an Oilpalm Development Pilot Project was launched in 1996 by Pakistan Oilseed Development Board (PODB) to promote oilpalm cultivation in coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan, while another project titled “Oilpalm Development Project” was launched by PODB in 2005-11 at a total cost of Rs.113.08 million for oilpalm cultivation on 12,000 acres.
Moreover, government of Balochistan also launched a project on Oilpalm cultivation at a total cost of Rs. 326.371 million for a period of five years (2007-2012) for Oilpalm cultivation on 12,000 acres.
The minister further said that the government was in process of negotiation with Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA) of Malaysia which had shown interest in large scale oilpalm plantation in coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan.
“The Oilpalm seedlings have also been provided to growers at subsidized rates,” he added.