‘PARC’s future depends on Rs 383.7m grant’


The Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) Chairman, Dr Iftikhar Ahmed on Saturday said that the Ministry of Finance had been directed to immediately release Rs. 383.7 million to the council to meet its budget shortfall. The PARC Chairman, while talking to agencies, said that the directive was issued by Prime Minister (PM) Raja Pervez Ashraf after he apprised him of the financial crunch being faced by the council, during a recent meeting. He said that he informed the PM that non-development expenditure was the main reason for the budget shortfall. Some 269 employees of the PARC had been recently reinstated and funds were required to pay their salaries and arrears, he added. He said that the council was originally allocated Rs. 876.21 million for non-development budget and Rs. 2753.21 million for development budget for the year 2012-13.
He apprised the PM that work on six approved projects could not be initiated due to the shortage of funds. “The PM agreed to release the funds, saying that research work in this important field on which the country’s economy depends the most should not be stopped”, he added.
The PM also directed the officials to discover new varieties of agriculture products, which would give a maximum yield by using fewer resources, he added.
He said the PM also desired that the research work should now come out of laboratories and libraries and its outcome must reach the farmers so they could produce new varieties by following the new technology.
“The PM also directed us to start mega projects for the development of agriculture in the country”, Dr Iftikhar added. He said that the premier directed the council to use the electronic media to create public awareness about the new agriculture research.
The PM was informed that the scientists were trying to discover new varieties to cope with the current climate changes, he added.
He said that the PARC had launched projects for the production of tea and edible olive oil in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) to make the country self-sufficient. Scientists would also be sent abroad for training in this regard, he added.