The CNA will synergize agricultural education and research: Fakhar Imam
FAISALABAD, Sep 11 (APP):Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam has said the National Agriculture Commission (NAC) will be established to create much needed cohesion among agriculture education, research and extension.
Chairing a meeting at Faisalabad University of Agriculture (UAF), he said increasing production per acre, adding value, empowering smallholder farmers, tangible research in agriculture and development rural areas were prerequisites for improving the country and improving food security. He said the government had developed five comprehensive policies on five major crops to increase productivity per acre, ensure food security and develop agriculture. He said that this year, wheat production per acre had increased, stagnating over the past ten years, resulting in a significant 2.2 million tonnes increase in domestic wheat production.
He said it was increased by 1.5 tonnes per acre.
Speaking of cotton, he said cotton production in Punjab reached 4.5 million bales, an increase of about 8.5 percent from last year. Global cotton production is expected to reach 8.46 million bales.
He said whitefly, pinball worm and CLCV attack remained significant, which had negatively affected cotton production. He said that providing certified seeds, adding value and mechanization were major challenges and that agricultural experts should play their central role in overcoming these challenges. He said the government has disbursed 4 billion rupees in credit to small farmers, having less than 12 acres, which represents 90 percent of the farming community.
Federal Minister of National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam said providing quality rural education and health facilities will lighten the burden in cities and ensure rural development.
Speaking of fruit, he said that this country produces excellent fruit but its exports are negligible. He said that adding value and adapting the international standard were prerequisites for earning foreign currency. He said it was of great concern that we were importing edible oil and pulses for billions of rupees instead of producing them domestically.
Speaking of research, he said spending on research and development remains minimal. He said the council of agriculture should be set up to analyze the demand and supply of agricultural students in the country.
He said the cultivated land in the country amounts to 50 million hectares, of which 32 million hectares are irrigated. He said that we had ignored the agricultural sector for the past 25 years, which was a matter of serious concern.
Syed Fakhar Imam said the agricultural sector is a powerful sector which employs 43 percent of the workforce. He said that neighboring countries were progressing at a steady pace while we were far behind in modern farming practices.
He said that no nation can thrive in the modern age without investing in human resource (HR) development. He said, “We must learn from the experiences of other nations. “
Modern seed technology will not only reduce production costs, but also make cultivation profitable. This will allow farmers and the country to move towards prosperity. He said we were ahead of China and Korea five decades ago, but now we are far behind. Both countries have invested in education and are learning from the experiences of other nations.
He called for program reforms in agriculture and reverse engineering. UAF Vice Chancellor Prof Iqrar Ahmad Khan said FSc agriculture should be revived, which will help produce dedicated farmers. He said that agriculture as a subject needs to be revived at school level. He said that the mixture of corn and wheat should be introduced to deal with the growing problem of malnutrition. He said that with the help of KOICA, the Pak Korea Nutrition Center was established at UAF to fight with challenge.
He said the UAF is making all the efforts of the farming community, agriculture and rural development with the help of skilled manpower, research and awareness.
Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Anas Sarwar said the center for the production of quality milk should be set up.
All the deans made the presentations on this occasion.