QUETTA: Balochistan Minister for Agriculture Zamarak Khan Piralizai has said that support from the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) in the development of the apple value chain in six districts of the province will have a profound effect on the livelihood of people of these areas.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the event ‘Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Guidelines for the apple value chain in Balochistan’, the minister said without embracing modern practices, progress in the agriculture sector was not possible.
He said that Balochistan was the largest but the least developed province in Pakistan and Unido’s Project for Agri-food and Agro-industry Development Assistance (PAFAID) would contribute considerably to the capacity of the agriculture department and the private stakeholders in producing value-added products that could be sold at good prices.
This would also help in creating jobs for men and women in the province and good practices of the project could be replicated by the agriculture department in other districts, he added.
Speaking at the ceremony, Unido’s National Project Coordinator Ahmed Ullah said: “The agriculture sector is the backbone of Balochistan’s economy and the livelihood of a majority of its inhabitants is dependent on this sector.”
He said there were 40 per cent post-harvest losses in apple production and one of the activities of the PAFAID project was to support the agriculture department and private sector in establishing small or medium industrial units for producing value-added products from apple to address the issue of post-harvest losses.
Mr Ahmed said Unido was supporting the Agriculture Extension wing in upgrading the pesticide quality control and research laboratory to enable to meet ISO 17025 requirements.
He said his organisation was also supporting the Balochistan Agriculture College in upgrading its food safety education programme.
At the end of the event, the provincial minister distributed certificates of appreciation among members of the technical committee on GAP guidelines.
Published in Dawn, February 18th, 2021