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`Horticulture becomes high-tech complex industry`

FAISALABAD (November 27 2007): Vice Chancellor UAF Professor Dr Bashir Ahmad has said that horticulture as a highly diversified industry has progressively become from a simple planting-harvesting activity to a high-tech complex industry. Among horticultural crops mango is an important crop both in terms of its production and export prospects.

This sector particularly lacks post-harvest management, which demands qualifying quarantine measures, minimising post-harvest loses, extending shelf life along with maintenance of fruit quality from farm to destination. He was addressing to the participants of ASLP Mango supply chain management project seminar organised by Institute of Horticultural Sciences at floricultural studio here on Monday.

Professor Dr Bashir Ahmad said that under such a challenging situation, we need improvement in each component of supply chain including in production, pre-harvest, harvesting, post-harvest handling, transportation and storage, which are imperative to maintain its quality to fetch good price in international market.

Les Baxter, Programme Manager, Australian Centre for International Research (ACIAR) highlighted the ASLP programme and said that Australia is providing technical and financial assistance to boost the productivity of dairy sector, mango and citrus crops. He added that Australian Government is also providing scholarships to the Pakistani students to enhancement of capacity building.

Dean Faculty of Agriculture, Professor Dr Iftikhar Ahmad Khan in his welcome address said that mango is second largest fruit produce in Pakistan and in the last season its exports exceeded 32 million dollar. In spite of this Pakistan still receives the lowest average price per kg among major mango exporting countries in the world, mainly due to the poor fruit quality combined with high loses, and poor marketing.

Pakistani Mango Industry is facing major constraints and inefficiencies in its supply chain, he added. He hoped that ASLP project will help transform mango industry from supply driven to quality and market driven.

Professor Dr Aman Ullah Malik, Co-ordinator ASLP project in his key note address said that a post-harvest lab has been established in IHS to conduct research on modern post-harvest and management techniques for mango and citrus crops. He said researchers belong to this project visited the UK, Dubai and Singapore markets regarding standardisation process of mangoes. He maintained that Australia is providing technical assistance in horticultural sector, which will be the mile stone for enhancement of fruit production.

Syed Zahid Hussain Gardezi President Pakistan Mango Growers Association in his address said that mango is being cultivated since four centuries ago in this sub-continent, but Australia who has started production of mangoes since last few decades ago has become a leading mango exporting country with fetching highest prices, which is food of thought for our researchers.

He stressed the need for harmonised research efforts among the various research organisations and universities to develop a compact mechanism for management and post-harvest practices in the country.

Professor Dr Muhammad Amjad, Director Inst of Horticultural Sciences thanked the guests and participants. Chief Guest Professor Dr Bashir Ahmad earlier inaugurated the post-harvest lab established in IHS in collaboration with the govt of Australia under ASLP project

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