Agriculture sector facing complex challenges: minister


October 28, 2014 – BR Report –

Punjab Agricultural Minister Farrukh Javed on Monday said that agriculture sector is facing complex challenges including low agricultural productivity, high cost of inputs and water and climate changes issues. These are the real hurdle to attain food security.

He was chairing 39 senate meeting of University of Agriculture Faisalabad at New Senate Hall as Governor’s nominee, said a handout of the department issued today. The Minister stated that the Punjab government was making all out efforts to address the issue in order to alleviate poverty and end starvation from the country. He stressed upon joint efforts on the part of scientists, government and other stakeholders for the uplift of the agriculture sector. He was of the view that the agricultural sector was the backbone of our economy, contributing 21 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He said that Punjab Chief Minister had given them task of increasing per acre production of farmers as the poverty alleviation was directly linked to agriculture sector. He showed his concern that the country was unable to tap the international markets of Halal meat. India is earning foreign exchange worth billions of rupees by exporting its Halal Meat to Malaysia. He called for chalking out a joint plan to raise the agricultural sector that is guarantee of bringing country out of clutches of poverty. He lauded the steps being taken on the part of the UAF for the development of the agricultural sector and to produce trained manpower. He congratulated the university for becoming first-ever Pakistani university ranked in the list of top 100 universities worldwide.

UAF Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said that rural development was directly linked to the agriculture sector. He said the UAF has initiated the 42 new demand-driven programmes in order to produce the trained manpower. A Confucius centre was being set up at the campus with the help of China in which Chinese Cultural and Language Programmes will be offered. He said it has established the Centre for Advanced Studies in Agriculture and Food Security worth 30 million US dollar sponsored by USAID. The centre is focused on climate changes, biotechnology, precision agriculture and policy researches. The university houses a satellite unit of a German funded International Center for Development and Decent Work (ICDD) to fight against hunger and poverty through research and education. He said the Korea had proved its mettle in the rural development. He said that UAF is kicking off a joint project with the country. He said the Australia-Pakistan Agriculture Sector Linkages Program (ASLP) is also one of the most successful models in co-operation and partnership. ASLP is working for the uplift of dairy, mango, and citrus industries. Registrar Muhammad Hussain conducted the proceedings.

The House approved establishment of Faculty of Food, Nutrition and Home Sciences; establishment of Confucius Centre and Punjab Bio-energy Institute. The House also approved the budget presented by Treasure Umar Saeed. The House approved non-development budget worth Rs 2,951.38 million. Whereas, development budget from federal government stands at Rs 346 million and from the provincial government, it is Rs 800 million. It is the highest funds from the Punjab government for the university compared to past years. The Vice Chancellor said the Punjab Chief Minister initiatives worth Rs 800 million will equip the varsity with new facilities including modern 1000 bed hostels for girls, Bio Energy Research Institute etc.

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