September 11, 2014- BR Report –
The University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) scientists have identified 10 new indigenous mango varieties to increase production, fight diseases, and to grab international market. It was stated on Wednesday at the Punjab Agricultural Research Board (PARB) 150 Mango Project’s concluding seminar titled “Characterisation of native and potential mango varieties” arranged by the UAF at New Senate Hall.
UAF Vice-Chancellor and Project Manager Professor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said the scientists analysed 471 germplasm of mango from four corners of the country including AJK and selected 10 to grow for national interest. He said the varieties have high potential. It would be commercialised so that the country can earn heavy foreign exchange. He said that Pakistan was blessed with the rich mango germplasm from ancient Himalayan Mountains of Kashmir to the fertile plains of Punjab.
He also said that Institute of Horticulture Sciences, UAF, Plant Pathology Department, UAF, Centre for Agricultural Biochemistry and Biotechnology (CABB), UAF and Horticulture Sciences Dept, Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan conducted the joint efforts for this cause. He said the United States has mapped out a comprehensive plan to double its all major grains. We have to develop the mechanism in order to meet the demand of growing population. He said that it is a matter of grave concern that 40 percent of our children are suffering from malnutrition. He urged the scientists, educators and policymakers to devise mechanism to fight the challenge.
Dr Louis Ferguson from the University of California said, “They are launching four major projects on mango with the UAF aimed at decreasing post-harvest losses; diversified cultivation; and to develop value-added products including mango leather and mango seed oil. She said that Pakistan is the fourth largest mango producing country in the globe. She said that by adopting the international standards, it can earn heavy foreign exchange.
Director General Research Punjab Dr Abid Mahmood said that they had launched a project on Controlled Atmosphere Technology as a move to meet the international standards by promoting it. He said that mango having low sweetness be grown to export to the countries where people like less sweet mangoes.
Chairman Punjab Agricultural Meat Company and Progressive Farmer Mumtaz A Khan Manais said that mangoes plantd are facing many challenges including fruit fly, sudden death etc. He urged the scientists to play their active role in this regard. He suggested that the UAF should strengthen disease-free mango nursery mechanism. He said that India is getting edible oil worth ten to twelve billion rupees from the mango seed whereas Pakistan is importing edible oil worth three billion dollar per annum.
Office of Research Innovation and Commercialisation (ORIC) Director Professor Dr Asif Ali said that germplasm unit is established at UAF. He said that collecting and conservation of selected germplasm and commercialisation of new potential germplasm will help increase mango production. Dr Ishtiaq Rajwana from BZU said that the country was losing 40 percent of production in the post-harvest losses. He stressed the need to develop adopt the modern practices in order to increase the productivity.