Speakers at a seminar on Thursday urged the government to formulate a policy for development of agriculture sector.
They said use of modern techniques and education of farmers could help enhance cotton production and through it export earnings of the country.
The seminar on Sustainable Enhancement in the Production of Cotton in Southern Punjab was held at the Islamia University, Bahawalpur. It was organised jointly by the IUB’s College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES) and Allahdin Group of Companies.
Cotton Research Institute Director Dr Abid Mehmood said use of modern farming techniques in the past decade had helped increase land under cultivation in southern districts of the province. He said the area under cultivation had increased by 21 per cent over this period. Mehmood said with a comprehensive policy in place further gains could be made in agriculture sector in the coming years.
Cotton Commissioner Khalid Abdullah said cotton production could be enhanced through a public-private partnership framework. He said coordination among education institutes, government and farmers could help ensure progress in research at farms.
He said cotton production was critical for strengthening the economy. “An increase in production of cotton will increase employment in textiles sector and also help boost export earnings,” he said.
Former agriculture minister Mian Khurshid Zaman Qureshi said problems in distribution of irrigation water should also be identified and solved.
IUB Vice Chancellor Muhammad Mukhtar said the university was coordinating with farmers in the region about the use of, IUB-222, a cotton variety recently developed by researchers. He said the IUB-222 could be very successful in arid areas as it was resistant to heat and required less water for cultivation.
He said 17,000 students were currently enrolled at the IUB in addition to the 26,000 students studying at colleges affiliated with the university.
CAES faculty member Dr Iqbal Bandesha earlier briefed the participants on the aims and objectives of the seminar and delivered the address of welcome. Faculty of Science Dean Prof Sheikh Aftab Ahmed and CAES Principal Dr Moazzam Jamil also attended the seminar.
Universities Consortium, NTS sign MoU
A memorandum of understanding has been signed between the Inter University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences (IUCPSS) and the National Testing Services (NTS) for standardised education assessment.
The areas of cooperation identified in the MoU include sharing of expertise in development of assessment exams in social sciences, arts and humanities and advancement of standardised assessment tests to produce market-competitive professionals. Seminars, conferences and training workshops on standardised tests development techniques would be arranged for students and faculty of the universities in the consortium. A National Institute of Educational Testing and Assessment would also be established in collaboration with Cito BV, a Netherlands-based Company.
A formal signing ceremony will be held on April 27 in Islamabad. The consortium includes Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad; University of Gujrat, Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur; Government College University, Faisalabad; University of Balochistan, Quetta; Institute of Management Sciences, Peshawar; Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan; and the Islamia University of Bahawalpur.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th, 2012.