Spring agriculture festival concludes with milk competition

Speakers at food engineering seminar say research in field can help solve malnutrition, reduce post-harvest losses.

Our Correspondent March 18, 2012


A six-day Spring Festival at the University of Agriculture concluded on Saturday with a milk competition.

The cow owned by Qumber Maqbool of SB Dairy Farm gave 51.82 litres milk a day on average for three days and won the first position in the crossbreed category. Jahangirabad resident Sardar Aftab Wattoo’s cow stood first in Sahiwal Cow category by producing 33.17 litres milk a day on average.

Shareef Pura resident Liaquat Ali’s buffalo gave 29.6 litres milk and won in that category.

The results were announced at the concluding session of the festival held at the D-Ground. The session was chaired by Omani Ambassador to Pakistan Mohamed Said Allawati. Faisalabad Commissioner Syed Tahir Hussain and UAF Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan were guests of honor. Hockey player Khawaja Tariq Aziz was also present on the occasion.

The prize distribution was preceded by a dancing horses performance.

Omani Ambassador Mohamed Said Allawati commended the UAF for organising the festival. He said festivals were one of the best ways to improve interaction between farmers and agricultural experts. He said the knowledge shared with the farmers through these activities could help them learn about latest technologies and adopt them at their farms.

Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said the festival was part of a series of outreach programmes organised by the university to transfer knowledge to farmers and to enable experts to learn about the problems the former faced.

He thanked Commissioner Tahir Hussain for his assistance in the establishment of Faisalabad Research Forum and Development Trust.

Food engineering seminar

On Friday, speakers at a seminar on food engineering techniques highlighted the utility of the field in coping with malnutrition and post-harvest crop losses.

Speakers said with the adoption of value-addition practices based on food engineering techniques could help reduce malnutrition and prevent many casualties in low-income families.

They mentioned that post-harvest losses of staple food crops in Pakistan currently stood at over 40 per cent. The figure could be brought down and the problem of food scarcity solved with adoption of food engineering techniques, they added.

The session was presided over by Vice Chancellor Prof Iqrar Khan

National Textile University Rector Prof Niaz Ahmad, Dr Yuz Aniza and Dr Muhamamd Noor ud Din from University of Putra Malaysia (UPM), Science and Technology University Bannu Vice Chancellor Prof Asmat Ali, Faisalabad University Pro Reactor Abdul Karim Baloch and Punjab Agricultural Research Board (PARB) Executive Member Dr Rafiqueur Rehman were guests of honour.

Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan the university had recently launched a degree programme in food engineering in view of the need for food engineers in the country. He said the UAF was the only institution in the country that was offering education in the field. He said the university had started 15 new degree programmes in four years. It was now offering studies in 80 degree programmes.

NTU rector Prof Niaz Ahmad hoped the programme would help boost production of staple crops and solve food scarcity and malnutrition problems. He said the UAF’s initiative to start food engineering programme would lead other engineering sciences institutes to offer studies in the field as well. UPM’s Dr Yuz Aniza said her university was collaborating with the UAF in developing a curricula for the programme. She briefed the audience about the main features of the curricula.

Dr Rafique ur Rehman referred to a Global Gap 2011 report and said that there were only 52 Pakistani companies registered with the organisation. He said the organisation had a record of 112,000 companies world over. He said the presence of Pakistani businesses in the index should be improved.

UAF’s Faculty of Agricultural Engineering Dean Prof Rai Niaz expressed his concern over the processing of the milk produced in the country. He said while Pakistan was among the biggest producers of milk, only four percent of total milk produced in the country was processed.

Department of Farm Machinery Chairman Prof Dr Iqbal highlighted that the food processing industry was providing jobs to 16 percent of the country’s population.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 18th, 2012.


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