ISLAMABAD                 -           The National Assembly Special Committee on Agricultural Products Thursday signed MoUs with six agricultural universities of Pakistan in a bid to facilitate sustained collaboration for agricultural transformation. Under a collaborative mechanism and shared commitment, the agriculture universities will provide technical support to Speaker’s led Special Committee on Agricultural Products.

The universities, under the MoU, will develop customized and demand-based position papers, briefing papers, backgrounds, fact sheets and policy reviews on agricultural issues for the Committee’s deliberations. The universities will facilitate public hearings, policy dialogues and stakeholders’ consultation as per the needs of the Committee. In a meeting with vice chancellors of agricultural universities and heads of agriculture research institutions, Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser emphatically stressed the need for policy shift to make agriculture more competitive, profitable, and sustainable. Speaker National Assembly said that agricultural development was indispensable to Pakistan’s enduring quest for sustained and inclusive economic growth. He stated that agriculture universities as repository of agricultural knowledge, research and intellectual capital may play a key role in guiding the National Assembly’s pathways for agricultural development.

He said that for successful transformation of agriculture sector, the National Assembly of Pakistan endeavors to enact evidence and knowledge-based policies and oversight of the executives on implementation of laws, policies and strategic priorities for the agriculture sector. The Special Committee on Agricultural Products seeks to facilitate inclusive consultation, policy dialogue, coherence and coordination at all levels of government to address the constraints that inhibit the national agricultural growth.

Meanwhile, the Sub-Committee of the Special Committee on Agricultural Products also met with vice chancellors to discuss the universities’ suggestions for agricultural development. The meeting presided by the Convener Syed Fakhar comprehensively examined the National Action Plan for Anti-Locust operations. The vice chancellors stated that rather than firefighting, the research institutions and universities should thoroughly examine the genesis of the locust in a more scientific manner. In this regard, the Committee formed a task-force headed by Chairman PARC comprising representatives of agriculture universities.

The Committee urged the universities to examine the issues of agricultural credit, agriculture technology transfer, value addition, horticulture development, regulation of the pesticides, fertilizers and seeds sector, and agriculture research development.  The Sub-Committee also sought practical proposals on developing collaborative linkages between research departments, universities, extension departments and farmers.

The representatives of Agriculture University, Faisalabad, Muhammad Nawaz Shareef Agriculture University Mutlan, Sindh Agriculture University, Tandojam, Lasbela University of Agriculture, and Water Sciences, Lasbela, University of Agriculture Peshawar, Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi attended MoUs signing ceremony and the meeting of the Sub-Committee. Chairman PARC, Director General NARC, and officers of the provincial agriculture research departments and Punjab Agriculture Research Board also attended the event.