Prof Jerry L Peter from Purdue University, USA, has called for expediting efforts on the part of agriculturalists and extension workers to ensure food security for the “ever-increasing population” of the world that will touch 9 billion by 2050.
He was speaking at an a seminar organised on Monday by the Institute of Agriculture Extension and Rural Development, University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The seminar, titled Strategies for Working with Adult Learners and Farmers, was presided over by UAF Vice Chancellor Iqrar Ahmad Khan.
Dean Prof Iqbal Zafar, Institute Director Prof Tanvir Ali, and Dr Anjum Ali, the Agri Extension Punjab director general, also spoke on the occasion.
Dr Peter talked about latest techniques in agriculture extension (the application of scientific research and new knowledge to agricultural practices through farmer education). He said global agricultural productivity could be boosted by motivating and educating the farming community about new techniques. He stressed the need for extension workers to ensure active participation of farming community by getting proper knowledge of farmers’ beliefs, customs and education before mooting new ideas.
Talking about water scarcity, he stressed the need for promoting drip irrigation rather than flood irrigation.
Dr Khan said that teachers must ensure participation of students and make their lectures interesting and interactive.
He urged them to promote the remote sensing technology using satellite photography. The technology would help raise per acre production, he added. He said that the UAF was launching a capacity building programme on the remote sensing in collaboration with University of Maryland.
Dr Ali said that the Punjab Extension Department had started ‘electronic agriculture’ to give the latest information to the farming community through internet.
He said the service was made available initially in Vehari, Sargodha and Sialkot. The department had also started a Zari Baitak (agriculture session) in collaboration with the UAF to provide farmers an opportunity to sit down with agricultural scientists and discuss how they would help them increase agricultural produce.
Prof Zafar thanksed the UAF for organising the workshop, which he said, gave experts and other people an opportunity to share knowledge and experiences.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2013.