Olive cultivation to ensure higher income to farmers: Ahsan
RAWALPINDI – Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal on Wednesday said that the initiative to promote olive cultivation would help generate higher incomes for farmers in the country.
He said that Potohar area has great potential for olive cultivation and added that the olive is a high-value agricultural product which could bring foreign exchange, if exported to markets abroad. He stated this while addressing as chief guest at the inaugural ceremony of the three-day International workshop on “Sustainable Agriculture Water Management in a Changing Environment – A special Focus on Olive Tree”, here at Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS).
He said that agriculture is the backbone of economy and stressed the need to transform it on modern trends to make country food-sufficient and to enhance water and to increase storage capacity in order to meet water related issues. He called for focusing on value addition as the country has still commodity-based economy and no proper attention has been given towards value-addition. He said that high value agricultural products would help to generate better income for farmers in the country.
He appreciated the efforts of PMAS-AAUR for producing educated, trained and inspired manpower and said it is playing pivotal role in modernizing agriculture and enlightenment of rural communities.
About higher education, he said that the government is also focusing on education sector which is reflected from the increase in budget from Rs 48 billion to Rs 78 billion for higher education during the last two years. He said that the government is also working to establish universities or their sub-campuses in all districts to give access of higher education to the youth in next two to three years. He said that ten thousands PhDs will also pass out in next ten years.
Ahsan also planted a tree and performed the groundbreaking ceremony regarding construction of Faculty of Agricultural Engineering and Technology at the University campus. The establishment of faculty project will have a total cost of Rs 751 million and would significantly contribute to improve agricultural technology as well as educational infrastructure at university. The duration of the project is three-year.
Earlier, Vice Chancellor PMAS Dr Rai Niaz Ahmad in his welcome address elaborated the aims and objectives of the workshop. He emphasized the significance of Olive cultivation for the economy and said high value agricultural products will help generate better income for farmers in the country.