ISLAMABAD, JAN 30 /DNA/ – PR&P, PARC, Pakistan and the Republic of Korea are collaborating on Technical Cooperation Projects (TCP), notably focusing on seed potato production using aeroponics technology—a flagship endeavor of their partnership. The dynamic partnership between KOPIA and PARC in pioneering the Aeroponic Potato Seed Production System is set to revolutionize agricultural productivity. This groundbreaking initiative promises to unlock a plethora of job opportunities, ushering in a new era of agricultural innovation. A prestigious ceremony celebrating the harvest of potato seeds unfolded at the National Agricultural Research Center. The ceremony was graced by the presence of the Honorable Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Dr. Kausar Abdulla Malik, His Excellency Park Ki Jun, the Korean Ambassador, and Dr. Ghulam Muhammad Ali, Chairman of PARC.
Addressing the gathering, Dr. Kausar Abdullah Malik, Federal Minister for the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, highlighted the remarkable growth in potato cultivation and production witnessed in Pakistan over the past two decades. He emphasized that the adoption of Aeroponic technology will not only boost potato production but also ensure the availability of virus-free seeds, thus contributing significantly to the agricultural sector’s improvement. Dr. Kausar Abdullah Malik highlighted that a mere 2% of Pakistan’s potato seed requirement is being fulfilled locally and we relied on importing 98% of its seed demand. With the implementation of this cutting-edge technology/facility, Pakistan is poised to achieve self-sufficiency in potato seed production. Dr. Kausar reiterated the government’s commitment to prioritizing the agricultural sector, expressing gratitude to the Korean government for its invaluable support in driving agricultural development initiatives in Pakistan.
In his address, H.E. Park Ki Jun, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, underscored the collaborative strides between Pakistan and Korea, notably emphasizing the swift progress of the joint potato seed production project. He unveiled plans for numerous forthcoming projects poised for launch, signaling a robust pipeline of initiatives. Additionally, he reaffirmed his dedication to bolstering bilateral cooperation by extending training opportunities in agriculture to Pakistani professionals, aimed at enriching their expertise and capabilities.
Chairman PARC, Dr. Ghulam Muhammad Ali, emphasized the significance of establishing first potato seed production facility in Pakistan utilizing aeroponic technology. Dr. Ali, at the harvest event, highlighted the power of aeroponic technology, which can yield 50 to 60 potato seeds per plant compared to just five from conventional methods. Pakistan currently imports 15,000 to 20,000 tonnes of potato seeds yearly due to low-quality local seeds, straining farmers who can’t afford better options and resulting in lower yields. He also announced upcoming projects worth over $8 million for livestock and smart farming set to launch in 2025. Dr. Ali thanked the Republic of Korea for their support in Pakistan’s agriculture sector.
Dr. Cho Gyoungrae, Director of KOPIA-Pakistan Center, shared plans to provide 160,000 tons of certified seed potatoes over five years. This involves constructing four aeroponics greenhouses, 32 screenhouses, and supplying a cold store and 100 KW solar systems to meet goals. Dr. Cho assured KOPIA’s full support. Dr. Aish Muhammad, the Project Coordinator, highlighted the project’s goal of cutting potato production costs, boosting yields with quality seed potatoes, aiming for self-sufficiency. The initiative will establish a sustainable system with aeroponic technology and trained staff.