FAISALABAD - The Pakistan Council for Science and Technology (PCST) has ranked the Department of Botany, University Of Agriculture, Faisalabad, the second best department after Karachi University in the field across the country. This was revealed by speakers at one-day seminar entitled "Role of Botanical Science in Agricultural Development" arranged by the department at New Senate Hall. The session was presided over by UAF Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan. The vice chancellor said that the discipline began with early human efforts to identify edible, medicinal and poisonous plants, making it one of the oldest sciences. He said that today botanists study over 550,000 species of living organisms and it is the mother of all agricultural sciences. He said that the population of the country at the time of inception was 33 million but the number had gone up to 180 million now. He said that the agri land had also reduced manifold because of the rapid industrialization and urbanization. It is a challenge for the agri scientists to provide food for ever-increasing population. He said that botany played a vital role in increasing the per-acre production of crops. Now it is the duty of botanists to put their full efforts in boosting up agri productivity by conducting quality researches, he added. Talking about education, Dr Iqrar said that in our system, the people were running for getting only good grades instead of quality education. This trend should be curtailed for the development of country in particular. Dean Faculty of Sciences Dr Muhammad Ashraf stressed the need to adopt model of education of China, having a university town where various universities are operating in competitive environment. He said that Malaysia, Turkey and China had made tremendous progress in every field because of education and hardworking. Two universes of Malaysia are standing among 400 top universities of the world. While one university of Iran and two universities of Saudi Arabia are also listed among top 200 universities. Dr Ejaz Rasul from LUMS, talking about the importance of botany, said there are plants that generate oxygen, food, fibres, fuel and medicine that allow humans and other life forms to exist. He said that it is botanists who work on how to improve different strains of crop varieties, how to a specific crop would grow in a particular climate and soil conditions and increase the productivity. He said, "The sugarcane and other plants have recently been put to use as sources of biofuels, which are important alternatives to fossil fuels". Department of Botany Chairman Prof Dr Abdul Wahid said that the department had produced 37 PhD, 60 MPhil and 80 MSc so far. He said objective of the seminar is to aware the audience about the growing issue as well as basis of the discipline. He said that students of agricultural sciences were generally lacking the basic knowledge of basic botany of plants on which they conduct experiments. Dr Rehana Asghar from Mirpur University of Science and Technology (MUST), Dr Yusuf Zafar from PAEC, Dr Fauzia from COMSATS and other notables also spoke on the occasion.