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Federal interim Minister for National Food Security and Research (NFS&R), Mir Hassan Domki, Wednesday, visited Pakistan Oilseed Development Board (PODB), central office here.
Syed Muhammad Nasir Ali, Managing Director, PODB gave a comprehensive presentation about the objective and functions of PODB. He apprised that PODB was established as a government department in 1995 through a resolution.
The Board helped the government in developing policies frame work on oilseed sector, besides, promotion of oilseed crops viz sunflower, canola and oil bearing trees (Oil palm olive). Managing Director, PODB further explained to the honourable Federal Minister that PODB has been playing its role very successfully to increase the areas of sunflower and canola. From 1995 to 2011, area of sunflower was increased from 185,000 to 11, 45000 acres and area of canola was increased from 8000 acres 260,000 acres.
Federal Minister was further informed that PODB was also striving hard for promotion of oil bearing tress like olive and oil palm cultivation in the country through development projects. PODB established olive orchard on 1130 acres in KPK, Balochistan and Potohar and produced 280,000 saplings for distribution among farmers.
Similarly PODB, carried out oil palm plantation in coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan on 1390 acres. Managing Director, PODB informed the Federal Minister that with limited financial resources PODB had been able to save 650 billion rupees as import substitution through promotion of local oilseed crops since its inception.
He emphasis on the importance and need of more vibrant and resourceful Board in a situation where our annual import bill of edible oil/oilseed is around 3 billion US$ which is second largest after petroleum. However, after the devolution under 18th constitutional amendment PODB was wound up and all the promotional activities were stalled.
Now PODB has been restored for federal area only and it is trying to re-establish its liaisons and sub-liaison office in the country to restore linkages with provincial governments and oilseeds’ stakeholders’ to oversee the edible oil sector for ensuring food security and productivity of oilseed crops.
The Managing Director, while explaining the constraints being faced by newly restored PODB, stressed that there is an urgent need for declaring status of PODB as an attached department to safeguard the career of the employees and future prospects of promotions. He requested Federal Minister to help in revival of PODB’s projects of oil palm and transfer back of olive project of PODB from PARC.
The minister appreciated the efforts of Pakistan Oilseed Development Board and its contributions toward self-sufficiency in edible oil. He ensured his full support in overcoming constraints being faced by the Board.
Federal Minister stressed that POBD should resume its promotional activities throughout the country in collaboration with provincial agricultural departments as it was doing before the devolution.