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FAISALABAD: Federal Minister for Planning Development, and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal on Saturday said that the agriculture sector was the government’s top priority.

The reconstruction of agriculture sector on scientific basis will not only utter a new era of export-led growth, but also ensure food security in the country, he said, adding that the University of Agriculture Faisalabad being the mother of all agricultural institution should take a lead to reform the sector with tangible research work, community service and transforming the researches into goods and services.

He addressed the University of Agriculture Faisalabad Deans and Director at the Center of Advanced Studies auditorium. UAF Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan gave the briefing about the agricultural issue.

He said that the researches should be reached to the farming community, stakeholders and industry for the knowledge based economy. He said that they were planning to research contest among the universities meant for heading towards knowledge based economy. He said that they were also working on setting up National League of University and Premier League of Universities.

Under the Premier League, the best universities of the country will be selected to find space in the top 100 universities of the globe and as a driving force for knowledge economy.

He said that although the country was among the top producers of the different agricultural goods, we are very low in per acre production compared to the rest of the world. He added that climate changes have started playing havoc with the sector and we have to develop climate resilient varieties. He said that commodities were not matching the world regulatory framework of fit for export.

He said that due to excessive usage of pesticide, the agricultural fruit and vegetables are becoming toxic. He asked the UAF to develop the proposal for the establishment of a Maximum Residue Limit lab. He added that the agriculture sector was confronting with different challenges including water scarcity, technology, low per acre production, water scarcity, climate changes etc.

He said that biotech, data scientist and innovation, adaptation of modern trends were the need of the hour. He said that milk was the fifth largest producer of milk in the world. The dairy industry could not be exploited for export items without value addition. He said that floriculture has a huge potential.

UAF Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said that the university was bringing breakthrough in the wheat and soybean in the country for enhancing the production and food security. He said that the UAF in collaboration with Washington State University was working on wheat climate resilient varieties. He added that the UAF Seed project would prove a hallmark for addressing the seed issue. He said that the university had developed agricultural zoning of the Punjab.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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