The government should establish a chain of agriculture schools in northern Punjab so that educated manpower is available to tackle food insecurity, Iqrar Ahmad Khan, the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Vice Chancellor, said on Saturday.
Talking to The Express Tribune here, Khan said the rapid increase in population meant that per acre yields of food crops in the country were falling short of the demand.
“This may lead to a severe food shortage…a famine can break out,” he said.
He said an agricultural institute affiliated with UAF had been awarding MPhil, MSc and BSc diplomas in Dera Ghazi Khan since August 2000.
He said UAF sub-campuses should also be set up at Sahiwal, Nankana Sahib, Narowal, Hafizabad and Mandi Bahauddin.
“Experts have already informed the government that the Gujranwala region is rewarding for agriculture,” He said the new campuses could also cater to the demand for farming in Sialkot, Narowal, Gujrat, Hafizabad and Mandi Bahauddin.
The VC said the main crops in Gujranwala division were rice, wheat, maize, water melons, peas and potatoes. “Livestock farming is also lucrative,” he added.
“By setting up new agriculture education centres, institutions, we can train the local population. This would be instrumental in boosting the farm production,” Khan said.
He said, “Pakistan is far behind Iran and other developing countries in the industrial sector,”
He said the country faced challenges of increasing its GDP growth to overcome the menace of unemployment and poverty and changing the lives of the ordinary people as well as enhancing the human capital.”
He said agriculture could help the country overcome its economic crisis.
“Our country’s progress depends on agriculture…it is the key to bringing about qualitative change in all spheres of life,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 23rd, 2013.
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