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Experts have cautioned that Parthenium, a toxic and invasive weed, can emerge as most hazardous for human and livestock as it causes allergy, asthma and other disease and put a huge impact on the quality of livestock milk and meat.

Addressing a press briefing here at syndicate room, UAF VC Prof Dr Muhammad Ashraf (HI, SI) said that parthenium is spreading at an alarming rate across the country as it is extremely harmful for human beings, and animals. The event was jointly arranged by Institute of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development and the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI).

He further added that human in contact with any part of the weed can develop allergy, asthma, eyes and diseases. He said that plant produces up to 10,000 seeds that resulted in its massive outbreak. He said parthenium can be managed using a combination of methods including preventive, cultural, biological, manual and herbicides. He said that systemic research should be initiated to tackle the weed. He was of the view that UAF experts took lead to hold awareness programs across the district and vowed to extend the outreach at country level to make the people aware of the weed. He underscored the need to put a coordinated effort to eradicate the weed at village level.

Prof Dr Muhammad Ashraf underscored the need to submit a joint research projects by experts of entomology, plant pathology and agronomy to national and international funding agencies thereby to conduct a consortium research by bifurcating the responsibilities and come up with some chemical solutions or management strategies. Talking about ranking, he said that he has given a roadmap to the faculty to pursue the goal of grabbing position in top 500 universities of the world by Times Higher Education Ranking in the years to come. He said Sheesham Dieback had appeared in late eighties but we could not bring any remedy. He assured that no such adhoc or contract employee would be unemployed but antecedent in view, they have to remain in the system by other modes so that they may be considered for regular employment in result of advertisement. He told that varsity is going to organize a farmer convention in March next year and his team is aggressively working on to showcase new technology in the exhibition.

CABI Deputy Director Dr Abdul Rehman said that if an animal eat the weed, it deteriorating the milk quality and weight. He said it is essential that the general public and farming community should be aware about silent enemy living amongst them. He said that gloves must be used while removing the weed. He said that parthenium weed was being used in floral decoration and frequently been used in bouquets. He cautioned about the rising threat of Parthenium hysterophorus; noxious weed causing an annual loss of 1.4 trillion dollars globally. The noxious weed is reported everywhere in the country but farmers and public do not or have a limited awareness about its harmful and devastating impact on agricultural productivity, human and animal health.

Dr Ijaz Ashraf, the focal person of the program, said that the cases of allergy, eye infection and other diseases were increasing in the hospital due to this toxic weed.

He said that in the list of top 10 most dangerous weed, parthenium sands at top number two in the list.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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