University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) Vice Chancellor Iqrar Ahmad Khan and Ayub Agricultural Research (AARI) Director General (DG) Abid Mehmood agreed in a meeting on Monday to enhance research collaboration.
The meeting followed a farewell reception for AARI outgoing director general Noorul Islam Khan’s at UAF Staff Club.
Agriculture University Rawalpindi former vice chancellor Khalid Mehmood, Dean Prof Muhammad Arshad, Chairman Abdus Salam and Research Innovation and Commercialisation Director Rao Asif Ali were also present on the occasion.
Mehmood said agriculture sector should be strengthened. He said this could be done by promoting value addition and post-harvest processing techniques.
He said agriculture was the backbone of the economy as agriculture sector made up 21 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
He said 60 per cent of the country’s population was associated with agriculture.
Noorul Islam Khan said the AARI had researched 425 new varieties of crops. He said production of wheat in the province had improved over the years. He said during his tenure 50 varieties of various crops had been approved in the country.
Iqrar Ahmad Khan said agriculture scientists had developed as many as 5,000 new varieties of various crops across the country so far. Most of them were UAF alumni. He said joint research projects between the UAF and the AARI had gained momentum.
“The future of agriculture research is in genetically modified crops,” he said. “As our resources continue to dwindle, genetically modified crops alone could avert famine.”
Mehmood said food security was not linked to wheat alone.
“We also have to focus on other crops to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” he said.
Arshad said the country was ideally situated.
“Pakistan has four seasons. We only have to adopt the latest agricultural practices to increase productivity,” he said.
He said perseveration of water sources was vital.
Ali said the AARI and the UAF would enhance research collaboration to tackle the challenges of food security.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 29th, 2013.
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