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Food Ministry will do everything to facilitate Gilgit Baltistan: Syed Fakhar Imam

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam was called on by the Minister of Agriculture of Gilgit Baltistan Kazim Meesam at the Ministry in Islamabad on Friday.

The Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Food Security Jamshed Iqbal Cheema and the Secretary Agriculture Gilgit Baltistan joined the meeting as well.

Syed Fakhar Imam said that the ministry will do everything to facilitate Gilgit Baltistan.

The minister told the federal minister that agriculture extension and research have been granted Rs 3.75 billion for four years. The projects have been endorsed by the federal ministry.

The federal minister said that this is the first time that the government is pushing agriculture forward with great zeal and zest.

The Gilgit Baltistan agriculture minister said that they face issues regarding Phytosanitary systems and Certification and would like the federal ministry’s assistance on the matters.

The federal minister said that organic cherry and apricot market can be targeted for the growth of agriculture in Gilgit Baltistan.

Out of 3.5 lac ton of cherries produced, there is a 30-40% wastage according to a survey done by JICA.

Of a total of 20 lac ton of apricot produced, approximately 40% is wasted, 80% of the total mulberry produced is wasted.

The agriculture minister said that the agriculture sector of Gilgit Baltistan is in dire need of marketing and investment to pick up the sector.

There are various varieties of apples and a total of approximately nine lac ton is produced in Gilgit Baltistan.

The federal minister suggested dehydrating and juicing of fruit for value addition. The federal minister also said that organic farming should be encouraged.

It was suggested that jam production is a viable option for the preservation of fruit pulp and support the cottage industry of Gilgit Baltistan.

Moreover, trout farming is growing in Gilgit Baltistan and frozen product is being sent throughout the Country. 15 tons of frozen trout was sent throughout the Country.

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