Agricultural research: ‘New seed centre to produce heat-tolerant varieties’

Centre will pave the way for seed development and mechanisation, says UAF VC.


Our Correspondent March 07, 2014
“Construction work has started after the centre was approved by the UAF Syndicate" says UAF VC. PHOTO: REUTERS

FAISALABAD:


“The University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (UAF), will have an up-to-date seed centre for producing heat-tolerant and high yielding varieties of seeds,” UAF Vice Chancellor Iqrar Ahmad Khan said on Thursday.


Speaking to a delegation of the AVRDC – The World Vegetable Centre South Asia, he said the seed centre would carry out research to ensure food security in the country.

“Construction work has started after the centre was approved by the UAF Syndicate… a comprehensive plan has been made to complete it within the stipulated time,” Khan said.

He said the centre would pave the way for seed development and mechanisation, marketing and value chain.

The UAF VC said several departments including horticulture, agriculture engineering, agronomy and plant breeding would work together for this.

Khan told the delegation that farmers were suffering because of malpractices in the seed sector. He said the seed industry was inefficient, and was “not fulfilling the demand for certified seeds.”

He also called for implementing the Seed Act in letter and spirit to provide quality seeds to farmers. He said the use of pesticides had decreased over the years as a result of BT cotton seed.

The UAF VC said the UAF was planning to start a degree programme in seed sciences.

AVRDC Regional Director Warwick Easdown said his organisation was expanding its network in Pakistan. He said the AVRDC was already active in India and Bangladesh.

“We plan to sign a memorandum of understanding with the UAF to work together in integrated pest management and plant breeding,” he said. He said collaborations between the AVRDC and universities had yielded tangible results in terms of quality research as well as trained manpower.

He said Pakistan should increase its foreign exchange revenue by exporting vegetables to other countries.

AVRDC - World Vegetable Programme Leader Mansab Ali, AVRDC Vegetable Breeder Ramakrishnan, UAF Agriculture Dean Muhammad Arshad, Horticulture Director Aslam Pervez, External Linkages Director Ashfaq Ahmad Chattha, Endowment Fund Executive Director Zahir Ahmad Zahir and Dr Irfan Afzal were present on the occasion.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2014.

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