FAISALABAD - The Australian Sector Linkages Programme of the University of Agriculture Faisalabad, the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council and other agricultural institutions on Thursday agreed to step up their efforts to produce disease-free and seedless citrus. Although Pakistan is the 13th biggest producer of citrus yet the county was unable to meet the high demand for seedless citrus across the globe, disclosed the meeting that was presided over by UAF Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad.

PARC Chairman Dr Iftikhar Ahmad, Australian Ext Development Officer Steven Falivene and ASLP Project Director Tahir Khurshid were guests of honor on the occasion. All the officials from other agricultural institutes across the country attended the meeting. The meeting agreed to promote disease-free plants to be developed under container-based system as per pattern of the modern world. The house also stressed the need for producing the plants which will give fruit in reduced time.

Dr Iqrar said that citrus greening disease is playing havoc with production of the fruit. He said that it was the need of hour to avert the impact of citrus greening otherwise the country will be left with no citrus plant after some decades. Dr Iftikhar Ahmad called for increasing the steps by giving awareness to the farmers about the promotion of seedless citrus production. He suggested reworking citrus plants to make it more compatible to the demand of the international market.

Steven Falivene said that the demonstration is the best tool to convince the farming community to move their plants towards the seedless plants.

He formed a committee to enhance the efforts for giving information for the farming community with the help of extension workers at the famers' community schools.

The meeting also agreed to enhance research works keeping in view the disease free plants. The house agreed to hold the more training of farmers to move the citrus production to the new height of programme.