Rawalpindi-A 2-day International conference on recent advances for crop productivity enhancement commenced here at Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University on Tuesday.

The conference was organised by the PMAS-AAUR Faculty of Crop of and Food Sciences with an aim to suggest modern techniques for enhancing crop production and farmers income in Pakistan. It also intended to conclude the smarter and sustainable ways to increase crop productivity to ensure food security in the country, a statement said.

Dr Nadeem Akhtar Abbasi, Vice Chancellor PMAS-AAUR, was the chief guest at the inaugural session while foreign delegates from Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia including policy makers, agriculture stakeholders, researchers, faculty members, progressive farmers, extension workers and students are also participating in the conference. Dr Nadeem Akhtar Abbasi said that agricultural sector was the backbone of our economy and about 70% of Pakistan’s population lived in rural areas and was directly involved in agricultural activities. He said that agriculture growth was facing a lot of problems and the main challenge to agriculture sector was now to improve and sustain crop productivity and farmers income.

He appreciated the efforts of organisers and hoped that the conference would provide a platform to discuss the most recent innovations, trends and concerns as well as practical challenges encountered and solutions to be adopted in the fields.

Dr Fayyaz-ul-Hassan, Dean Faculty of Crop and Food Sciences, in his welcome address, explained aims and objectives of the conference and said that the conference was expected to develop a shared vision on recent advancement to enhance crop productivity on the globe.

Dr Imtiaz Rashid, Assistant Professor of King Abdul Aziz University, Saudi Arabia; Dr Harpinder Singh, agriculture and agriculture food expert from Canada, Dr Saeed, Director Asian Productivity Organisation, Japan and Dr Anjum Ali, DG Agriculture Extension Punjab, also delivered lectures on the occasion.

The speakers emphasised to improve agro-ecological adaptation, resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, early maturity, and end-use quality of wheat. They discussed recent biological and chemical based technologies for fertilizer manufacturing and their practical implication on improving soil fertility and quality and hence sustainable crop production.