It is not very often that one gets any information about scientific activities in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) or Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) as being called on the other side of the LoC. Compared to Jammu and Kashmir state in the Indian Union, the development pace is not considered enough to raise the standard of living in AJK. Therefore the reports about setting up an agriculture research institute there are indeed a welcome news.
"Objective of the initiative was to introduce, adapt and generate improved agriculture technologies for different Agro Ecological Zones (AEZs) of the State on an integrated land use basis. The project aimed to established a full fledge ARI in AJK to address the issue of food deficiency and to reduce the import of food items from adjacent provinces of Pakistan. However, with the existing resources and facilities the department remained involved in activities of adaptive research for the testing of adaptability of approved, certified and registered varieties of different crops by department itself or under collaborative research program with National Agricultural Research Center (NARC)".
How far the new ARI set up will enjoy freedom in planning their R & D and how much resources will be earmarked by the local government or the Pakistan government remains to be seen. It is a tragedy that the political turmoil that prevails to day are preventing full development in AJK which seems to have very high potential, especially in horticulture area.