Global warming is not only playing havoc with lives of people but also damaging agriculture badly as a one degree rise in temperature reduces wheat yield by seven per cent and rice production by 10 per cent.
This was revealed by speakers on the third day of a week-long workshop on “Strengthening skills of young professionals in Pakistan and Afghanistan”, organised by the US Department of Agriculture in collaboration with Endowment Fund, Secretariat University of Agriculture Faisalabad.
Scientists and agriculture support workers from Afghanistan and the US participated in the workshop, which was aimed at building capacity of agriculture workers to help rural people achieve the goal of sustainable development.
During the event, US scientists were transferring knowledge and innovative techniques for revamping the extension system in the agricultural sector of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Terry Steinhart, an expert from Iowa State University, underscored the need for strengthening the network of agriculture support workers to help farmers of Pakistan and Afghanistan face challenges by applying scientific and innovative methods. “This will bring prosperity to their lives,” he said.
He called for solving the problems of farmers so that they could produce enough food to support their families as well as their country.
Louise Ferguson, Extension Specialist, Plant Sciences Department, University of California, urged agriculture support workers to study in detail the problems and socio-economic status of farmers.
She said a successful agriculture extension programme included academic and university linkages, outreach and applied research, adequate funding and support, teamwork and collaboration, professional growth, personal reward, competence and farm visits.
Trish Steinhilber from the University of Maryland said an effective message would only work when it was easy to understand for the targeted people keeping in view their religion, culture, economic status and other things which would help them adopt innovative ideas.
Kevin Murphy from Washington State University said that in the age of information technology and scientific revolution, it was a prerequisite to get state-of-the-art knowledge to make progress in any field.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 17th, 2011.
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