Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) through its Arid Zone Research Center (AZRC) Umerkot was working to promote and develop agriculture sector in desert areas of Thar to address malnutrition issues by enhancing the availability of food grains. To eliminate the issues relating to drought and turning the barren deserts into grasslands, the PARC was also collaborating with international development partners and development agencies to replicate successful agriculture and livestock models, said an official of the Council. Talking to APP here on Thursday, he said that models related to kitchen gardening, vertical gardening, solar power, and drip irrigation system were introduced to local farmers in order to ensure availability of home-grown vegetables to fulfill the dietary needs. Meanwhile, keeping in view the water shortage in these areas, the council-initiated pitcher irrigation system and saline water purification system to bring more area under different staple food grains cultivation, he added. Besides, steps were also being taken to increase the productivity of agriculture, livestock, fisheries and vegetables to make farmers of the area self-sufficient in food requirements, he added. He said that AZRC successfully planted 60-70 lines of Ispaghol, 34 varieties of date palm including 3 varieties imported from Egypt, 4 grafted Ber varieties and Chilies. Besides, 14 varieties of Guava according to local ecology introduced and planted for fruit production, adding that in order to promote cultivation of oil seeds the seeds of mustard, castor, olive and pulses were also provided to farmers of Thar.The institute also established a seed bank and established agro-forestry block at 4 acres, trails and orchard including date palm, grafted bar, phalsa, olive, chiku, lemon, fish pond and biogas plant to facilitate the local growers.