August 05, 2014
ZAHID BAIG – BR Report –
Ministry of National Food Security and Research (NFS&R) has decided to take up the provinces onboard in its efforts of restoring activities of the Pakistan Oilseed Development Board (PODB) across the country with ultimate aim of enhancing national indigenous edible oil production.
PODN sources told Business Recorder here on Monday that the PODB since its restoration in September 2012 had been assigned to carry out activities of developing olive plantation in Fata and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) areas. However, its new management had recently recommended for restoring its activities across the country to meet the challenge of enhancing indigenous edible oil production.
Sources maintained that the Minister for NFS&R Sikandar Hayyat Bosan in a recent meeting was informed that the PODB was established in 1995 through a resolution with a mandate of enhancing indigenous edible oil production. The meeting was of the view that edible oil import position has not reduced significantly as it was in 1995. PODB had made breakthrough in oilseed ie canola/sunflower and oil bearing trees of olive and oil palm, however these interventions could not be sustained, the meeting observed.
Secretary NFS&R apprised the meeting that consequent upon the devolution of Ministry of Food and Agriculture, PODB was wound up on 30-06-2011 and its employees were transferred to various Ministries/Divisions/Departments. The High Power Committee constituted by the Prime Minister to settle post devolution issues had recommended restoration of PODB for federal areas only which was approved by the Prime Minister and PODB was restored on 12-09-2012. The Secretary informed that status / mandate of restored PODB has not been notified as its jurisdiction and functions to be assigned were not settled because of the fact that it can not operate beyond federal areas.
Secretary informed that NFS&R is in process of preparation of a PSDP project on promotion of large scale olive plantation in the country. Under this project NFS&R would assign PODB a considerable share for olive development in ICT and Fata areas Managing Director PODB Syed Muhammad Nasir Ali in his presentation emphasised the need for settlement of PODB status and its employee as well as the mandate of restored PODB. MD highlighted that if the national issue of edible oil production is to be addressed then PODB must be restored countrywide. Assets of PODB (including buildings, machinery, equipments, record etc) are still lying at different places throughout the country unattended.
The Minister expressed his desire that before taking any decision for the countrywide restoration of PODB, provinces must also be taken onboard. The meeting decided that the NFS&R would arrange meetings with secretaries’ agriculture, provincial governments to get their views about working of PODB’s offices. It was also decided that the PODB may for the time being continue its activities in ICT and Fata.