MULTAN: Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University held a discussion of agro-industrial stakeholders to boost their role in the economy of the country. The discussion forum was aimed to set direction for the establishment of a new faculty of agricultural and bio systems engineering and technology.
The agenda of the meeting was assess problem faced by agro-based industries, role of agricultural engineering in agro-industries to reduce the cost of production, value addition of agricultural products, storage, processing, automation and increase the net benefit of the industry.
The discussion was organised at Agricultural Mechanization Research Institute (AMRI) Multan on Friday. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture Multan Vice Chancellor Dr Asif Ali chaired the discussion forum.
During his welcome address Dr Ali emphasised that cost of production could be reduced and crop yield can be increased by adapting modern techniques. He said upgrading of existing agro-based industrial system was the key to support local industry which would ultimately trickle down benefits to farming community. “This is possible only with producing industrial oriented trained engineers,” he remarked.
Dr Alamgir compared agricultural engineering programme in University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and BZU Multan. The forum invited suggestions for development of industrial oriented curriculum of agricultural engineering.
Dr Asif Ali opened discussion by saying that share of agriculture in GDP was 21 % and capital input was not available.
“Unemployment in this sector is prominent and this can be addressed by mechanised farming, entrepreneurship and modern industrialisation. Reasons of challenges in agriculture sectors are slow processes in this sector as compare to industry where processes are fast and return is quick,” he said.
“In Pakistan food security is a major issue and it needs to be addressed with modern farming and modern industrial techniques.” He strongly supported to discussion forum and the thought to establish Agricultural Engineering programme with the collaboration of industrial stakeholders.
The participants of the discussion suggested that agricultural engineering courses should industrial base to solve the current problems of industry. Course should include subjects related to engineering ethics, entrepreneurship, and special emphasis on metallurgy. The committee suggested that the varsity should start BSc agricultural engineering programme based on agro-industrial processing engineering, farm machinery and power remote sensing and GIS engineering and land water resource Engineering. Participants also suggested that varsity may serve as hub for the agro-based industries.
The industrialists appreciated the discussion forum and accepted the proposal to accommodate fresh graduates on internship and also promised to strengthen the industry academia collaboration.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2017.