FAISALABAD: Trilateral relations among Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States in the field of agriculture are expected to bring tangible results from efforts to develop the sector and alleviate sufferings of the farming community.
Speakers stated this here on Friday at the concluding session of a five-day international workshop titled “Strengthening extension skills of young professionals in Afghanistan and Pakistan”, organised by the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Experts from the US, agricultural workers and officers from Afghanistan and Pakistan participated in the workshop.
UAF Vice-Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad voiced concern that only 25 lady agricultural professionals were working in the Punjab Agriculture Extension Department, which were not enough to meet the needs of 69% of rural women who were associated with the agricultural sector.
Rural women were reluctant to get guidelines from male staff of the agricultural department because of age-old traditions and norms. “It is a prerequisite to increase the women staff in the agricultural department in order to transfer latest technology to women,” he said.
He expressed the hope that the trilateral cooperation would mostly alleviate hunger and poverty from the region. Still, “we have to go a long way to excel in the field as lack of awareness of latest practices is the main hurdle in the way of progress.”
Discussing the cooperation between Pakistan and the US, Ahmad said USAID was setting up three centres for advanced studies in Pakistan covering food security and agriculture, energy and water to cope with the challenges.
UAF has been selected for the centre for agriculture and food security, which will help ensure end to hunger and provide enough food to the country. Ahmad said although Pakistan was a food-secure country, water crisis had started turning fertile land into barren.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 5th, 2012.