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 Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
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 Pakistan promoting canola to enhance oil productio

ISLAMABAD (10/13/2001) - Pakistan Oil Development Board (PODB) hasinitiated a plan to enhance edible oil production by promoting cultivationof canola to meet domestic requirement of 1.9 million tonnes every year.About 0.5 million tonne is produced by the local growers while theremaining 1.2 million tonnes is imported to bridge the gap between theproduce and consumption.According to official sources the PODB has developed new varieties ofcanola with indigenous resources. These varieties include synthetic aswell as hybrid varieties. Local canola varieties have performed betterthan the imported varieties cultivated at various locations in the countryunder difference agro-ecological conditions and these local varieties arefully acclimatised to local environment.Local canola seed production has resulted in self-sufficiency in canolaseed requirements and now there is no need to import canola seed by publicor private sectors. Local canola seed production has reduced the cost ofthe seed providing a relief to the growers.Local seed of synthetic types costs Rs 50 as compared to the internationalprice of Rs 180 to 250 per kg. Local hybrid seed of canola costs Rs 150.There is a vast potential to increase production of canola oil and mainthrust is being laid for replacement of mustard acreage by canolacultivation.Mustard crop is being cultivated on about 700,000 acres annuallyreplacement of which will enhance canola acreage to about 1.0 millionacres thus enhancing the canola production to 200,000 tons valued at Rs7.5 billion per annum.Canola crop can be grown throughout the country and it requires minimumthree irrigation at the time of its sowing, flowering and seed formation.Shattering in canola can be controlled by harvesting when 35 percent podsget mature. Canola produce has an attractive market and its disposal doesnot pose any problem unlike previous years.Breeders have worked to improve the rapeseed and mustard crops and "doublezero" or more precisely "double low" canola varieties have been developed.Canola is mustard but the above two compounds are within safe limits ofpalatability making it a premium product for human health. The levels oferucic acid in canola are less than 5 percent and that of glucosinolatesas less than 30 micro mole/gram.These improved mustard varieties were given the name of "Canola" fromCanadian Oil as the original work on canola development was undertaken inCanada. Now these "double low" varieties are familiar with the name ofcanola all over the world.Oil quality of canola is superior and comparable to that of world's bestoils. Oil are fats with two types of fatty acids; saturated andunsaturated, the latter being easily absorbable by the human body.Contrarily, the saturated fats accumulate in human body and causedifferent diseases expect in case of hard exercises where these getcatabolised.According to international research by doctors and researchers, Canola oilhas unique property of reducing the blood cholesterol levels thusminimising the risk of coronary heart diseases.In Pakistan, canola cultivation started in 1985-86 on experimental basiswith imported varieties. Commercial cultivation of canola started inPakistan in 1995 when it was planted on 100,000 acres compared to 8,000acres of 1994. Now canola has become a popular oilseed crop inPakistan.-APP

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