Islamabad : Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), Islamabad and WINROCK International Institute for Agriculture Development, Tuesday, signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for agriculture cooperation.
As per terms & conditions, MoU is intended to facilitate collaboration between Winrock International – PAD Project and PARC in areas related to agriculture development with focus on value chain development covering four crops namely Dates, Banana, Tomato and Red Chilli in Punjab and Sindh Provinces.
Its geographical coverage would extend to 12 districts. Six (06) in Sindh (Hyderabad / Matiari, Tando Allah Yar, Thatta, Mirpur Khas, Umerkot and Khairpur) and Six (06) in Punjab (Sheikhupura, Multan, Muzafargarh, Khanewal, Lodhran and Bahawalpure). Its activities may include training of producers in modern agricultural techniques, post – harvest and ling and storage, sanitary and phytosanitary compliances, and facilitate access to credit for maximizing income of the farmers and agri-enterprizes.
Banana is among the major cash crops in Sindh and Thatta is one of the major growing area. This can affectively through tissue cultured plants. PARC’s tissue culture facility at National Sugarcane & Tropical Horticulture Research Institute at Thatta can play a vital role in producing and supplying tissue cultured Banana Plants especially of G-9 variety with potential yield of 60 metric tons per acre per annum. Thatta is largest Banana Producing district in Sindh.
PAD project can help in capacity enhancement of tissue culture facility in the form of support for infrastructure like greenhouses and to facilitate farmers access to tissue cultured disease-free banana plants at affordable price. WINROCK – PAD Project will provide support to PARC for capacity enhancement of its tissue culture lab at NS&THRI Thatta, Sindh and PARC will strengthen technical (HR) capacity of the tissue culture lab at NS&THRI, Thatta, Sindh and ensure increased production of tissue cultured plants of high yielding banana varieties like G-9 and supply plants to farmers, PAD Project beneficiary farmers in particular, at affordable price.
WINROCK-PAD Project will also provide support for creating aflatoxin testing facilities for Red Chilli in Kunri, District Umerkot, Sindh and PARC will provide physical infrastructure (premises) and technical staff for creating, operating and maintaining aflatoxin testing facilities. PAD and PARC can pool their efforts and resources to establish aflatoxin testing facilities for the farmers in the production areas. PARC will also educate farmers through transfer of knowledge on planting of tissue cultured banana plants and management in the field ; and drawing representative samples of Red Chili produce for testing against aflatoxin contamination.