Liaison between industry and academia is a prerequisite for transforming agriculture sector into a hi-tech industry and enabling it to compete at a global level, said University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) Vice Chancellor Dr Anas Sarwar Qureshi.
Addressing officials from the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) on Saturday, he said that education and research play an instrumental role in in steering innovation and development of any country.
He assured that a special desk will be created at UAF to further cement the bilateral relations between the chamber and the university.
Responding to a question, he rejected the notion that India was far ahead of Pakistan in the agriculture sector. “The performance of many crops of Pakistan is excellent as compared to India, however, there is still room to further improve the production capability and enhance per acre yield,” he said.
Talking about low production of cotton, he was of the view that government should introduce and strictly implement a zoning system to control the overall yield and discourage excessive cultivation of any crop.
He added that the government should motivate farmers to switch over to high value crops citing that it will help alleviate rural poverty in addition to curbing the import bill.
“Similarly, value addition in other agricultural products is also imperative to develop a scientific, modern and hi-tech food industry,” he said. “In this regard, UAF has produced highly qualified graduates who can lead agriculturalists to develop their own agricultural-based industrial empires in specific fields.”
Qureshi highlighted that UAF’s Agronomy Department would organise a conference on soybean on June 15, 2021 and invited FCCI members to participate in it.
Read more: Agriculture sector achieves growth target
Referring to the poverty alleviation model of China, he noted that Prime Minister Imran Khan was aware of its positive impacts and the premier was making efforts to replicate the scheme in a bid to root out poverty from Pakistan.
According to him, agriculture sector could play a pivotal role in economic empowerment of farmers, which would transform the destiny of Pakistan.
“The industrial sector must invest in productive research-based projects in addition to offering internships to young graduates,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, FCCI Senior Vice President Chaudhry Talat Mahmood said that Faisalabad was the hub of the textile sector and universities must focus on developing it on modern scientific lines.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 13h, 2021.