ISLAMABAD: A three-day training workshop on ‘Youth Engagement in Agriculture’ kicked off on Tuesday with the support of USDA where 32 Pakistani youth will learn upgraded agricultural techniques.
Three facilitators from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are conducting the workshop this week to support Pakistan Water Dialogue and Soil Health and Fertility projects.
This workshop utilises the Positive Youth Engagement model from USDA’s 4-El programme, which has been active in the United States since the late 1800’s.
The workshop will work with participants from Punjab, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan to identify solutions and pathways for further engaging emerging young leaders in Pakistan’s agricultural sector.
USDA facilitators leading the workshop are Dr Lisa Lauxman, the Division Director for Youth and 441 at USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hilary Landfried, Programme Manager with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, and Benjamin August, Programme Coordinator with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Dr Lauxman said that by learning upgraded irrigation techniques or other modern farming techniques Pakistani youth could create a sustainable change in country’s agricultural environment. “It’s a great opportunity to work together towards a possible solution,” he added.
On the occasion, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) Acting Chairman Dr Munir Ahmad said, “Now Pakistani agricultural products are in surplus so they must possess the quality that can be exported in different countries. We have tough regional competitors in the field of agricultural like India. We need to raise our product standard to broaden our internal export. Such trainings will definitely pave the way for youth to work towards agriculture progress.”
Programme manager Landfried said, “This workshop seeks to build upon USDA’s seven-year engagement promoting the demonstration and adoption of best management practices and technologies in watershed rehabilitation and irrigation. Not every one of us can be producers or farmers but we can be the persons who support them.”
One of the participants, Farkhanda, a social mobilisation officer from Hyderabad said that she was pleased to be a part of the programme. “After this session, we will be able to create awareness among the farmers of our communities regarding modern farming techniques,” she added.
Seventy-five senior officials, technical experts from the federal and provincial ministries, universities, and NGOs are attending the event organised by USAID, USDA, World Learning, and International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas.