Inauguration of Kiwi Fruit Adaptability Train at ZTBL Farm Islamabad

Inauguration of kiwi fruit adaptability was carried out on September 22, 2021 at ZTBL farm Islamabad under PARB funded project "EVALUATION AND INTRODUCTION OF SOME EXOTIC KIWI CULTIVARS" which is executed by Department of Horticulture, PMAS-Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi.

The Vice Chancellor PMAS-Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi Prof Dr Qamar uz Zaman was the chief guest and President ZTBL Muhammad Shahbaz Jameel was the guest of Honor. Deans/Directors from University and Senior Administration of ZTBL witnessed the event.

Vice Chancellor PMAS-AAUR Prof Dr Qamar Zaman said that the high nutritional and medicinal value of kiwifruits have invited attention of consumers across the world. He said the plantation of kiwifruits will be extended to Attock, Chakwal and foothills of Margallas and then other parts of the country for commercial purposes as this was suitable for the cultivation.

President ZTBL Muhammad Shahbaz Jameel said that lack of awareness, high input cost and unavailability of planting materials have kept our farmers at bay and this is the reason that Kiwifruit plants are not grown in Pakistan. He also informed that the farm house of ZTBL will be converted into an incubation (demonstration) center for students and farmers for ideas sharing as it will boost agriculture and educate farmers about technical know-how of modern agriculture techniques.

Earlier, Dr. Muhammad Azam Khan, Project Manager/Chairman Department of Horticulture briefed the participants about the activities going under kiwi project. He highlighted the nutritional importance of kiwi fruit having more vitamin C (92.7-161. 3mg/100mg) than an equivalent amount of orange having high levels of potassium, carbohydrate, protein, vitamins and antioxidants make it more demanding throughout the world. It is a novel fruit crop with a greater potential.

The objective of our project is to introduce and evaluate adaptability of different exotic kiwi fruit cultivars having different chilling requirements. We have established trails at four different ecological locations in north Punjab (Chakwal, Attock, Islamabad and margalla foot hills).

Asadullah Habib, Head Planning and Research Division ZTBL said that the bank was aggressively participating in Prime Minister's vision of 'Plant for Pakistan' and the kiwis plantation project is also part of it. He said so far ZTBL has planted more than 150000 trees across the country, adding that the bank was in touch with other agriculture universities for introducing trees and fruit plants that had never been grown in the country in the past.

With due concentration to establish industry academia partnership and technology dissemination to the farmers the trail has been designed at ZTBL demonstration farms located in Orchard Scheme Islamabad. This is going to be an open access opportunity for the farmers, students, researchers and other stockholders to visit and learn about the exciting opportunities regarding this new crop. The due thanks are laid towards honorable guests with the aim that this linkage will prosper in all horizons which will ultimately be beneficial to the farming community.

The Chief guest and Guest of honor appreciated the efforts of the project team and Mr Asad Ullah Habib EVP/Head of Planning, Research & Technology Division ZTBL. The success of the project may lead to economically revolutionized the farmers of this region.