KARACHI: All Pakistan Fruit & Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) and MNS University of Agriculture Multan (MNSUAM) has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for development of the agriculture sector and mutual cooperation.

The MoU was signed by the Patron-in-Chief PFVA, Waheed Ahmed and Vice Chancellor of MNSUAM, Professor Asif Ali during a graceful ceremony on behalf of their respective organisations. According to Waheed Ahmed the agreement between the PFVA & MNSUAM is an integral part of the road map for the development of Horticulture sector. Since prior to this agreement PFVA had signed similar MoUs with the University of Agriculture Faisalabad, University of Agriculture Jamshroo and Department of Agriculture & Agri business, University of Karachi.

Through the mutual cooperation of PFVA with the Agriculture Universities, it would assist to develop new varieties of fruits & vegetables besides enhancing yield per acre of major crops and production of fruits. The Association (PFVA) would provide adequate resources for Research & Development (R&D) for the Agriculture Universities and highlight the Projects and required technologies for the rapid development of the Agriculture sector.

Besides harvesting traditional fruits & vegetables, Pakistan is in desperate need of harvesting fruits & vegetables which can provide an alternative solution to the imported fruits & vegetables so that valuable foreign exchange can be saved and among these ginger and garlic are on top of the import list.

The PFVA in collaboration with the research based institutions and Agriculture Universities desires to develop different varieties of fruits & vegetables which are in great demand in the international markets so that exports’ enhancement can be ensured and among these new varieties of citrus fruits are on the top of the list. The mango orchards had been developed using primitive methods and hence besides low yield per acre, these trees have low resistance to protect against the diseases. By mutual cooperation with the Agriculture Universities, new varieties of mangoes trees would be explored which are smaller in height and higher in production of mangoes, Waheed stated.

According to Waheed Ahmed, most important challenges the horticulture sector is confronted with are climatic changes and scarcity of water and to encounter these challenges, we need to adopt the latest trend and technology.

The PFVA has developed a comprehensive road map ‘Horticulture Vision-2030’ which suggests such recommendations and by exploiting potentials locally the agriculture sector can be revolutionised and the stiff challenges of climatic changes as well as sacristy of water can be effectively resolved.

Waheed Ahmed, during his tour to the University inspected the modern Agriculture system & technology indigenously developed by the University which included Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA), Climate Smart (CS) Farming, mango orchards having small height of the trees and research laboratories. The projects developed by the Agriculture University of Multan can be of great assistance in resolving the stiff challenges faced by the agriculture sector, however, there is a need to create awareness of these projects among the growers and exporters, Waheed suggested.

The PFVA would promote inventions and newly developed technologies by the University in the country and simultaneously award scholarships to the students of the University for conducting research work on modern principles of the agriculture sector.

Waheed Ahmed further stated that under the agreement, the PFVA, besides rendering assistance to the students for research would also highlight the challenges, the Agriculture & Horticulture sectors are confronting, which would lead to narrowing gap between the agriculture sector and industry and the students graduating from the agriculture universities would meet the demands of the industry by developing their potential accordingly.