RAWALPINDI - Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) and Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) have agreed to initiate collaborative research projects in the field of agriculture, particularly for promotion of olive cultivation in the country.

This was decided in a meeting between Vice Chancellor PMAS-AAUR, Professor Dr. Rai Niaz Ahmad and AICS delegation headed by Domenico Bruzzone, Director Technical office of AICS in Pakistan here on Friday. Secretary Agriculture Punjab Muhammad Mahmood, PMAS-AAUR Director External Linkages Dr. Atta-ul-Mohsin, Registrar Dr. Sarwat Naz Mirza and BARI Director Muhammad Tariq were also present in the meeting.

They discussed the possibilities of collaboration in academic, research, training and value chain activities for the development olive cultivation. In a meeting, it was decided that they will work together to create awareness among farming community for olive cultivation. Participants also decided to establish a state of the Art Center of Excellence to cater the future needs in the area of olive research, capacity building, transfer of knowledge & technology to students and farmers. In this regard TORs for different stakeholders will be finalized as per their role in collaborative efforts.

They were of the view that a thorough situational analysis is needed regarding potential areas, prevailing situations and future initiatives related to olive production and allied activities in the country. Participants said that olive can be grown on marginal lands and we should maximize the area under olive cultivation for better use of natural resources.

They agreed that plantations at household level, schools, communal lands etc should be encouraged to bring more area under cultivations and coverage of poor farmers (local/rural) associations may be established to promote olive cultivation in the area. They also agreed that overlapping of similar nature of activities by different stakeholders/organizations may be minimized and issues related to management/governance may be addressed to reach better results.

The visiting delegation while exchanging views with PMAS-AAUR academic leadership applauded its numerous steps to develop the institutional relations with leading institutions and corporate entities. Both parties also shared views for joint efforts that are important for potential expansion of future collaborations.

Secretary Agriculture Punjab Muhammad Mahmood while sharing his views said that Punjab government is making all efforts for strengthening the agriculture sector and the progress of the farmers. He said that olive cultivation will be helpful for achieving the self reliance in the agriculture production, alleviating poverty and achieving food security in the county.

Earlier, PMAS-AAUR Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dr. Rai Niaz Ahmad briefed the delegation about the varsity’s educational, research and extension programmes, future plans, and role in the development of agriculture sector in Pakistan. He said that the university is engaged with the farmers to develop better agriculture skills.

The Vice Chancellor said the varsity is working with different research and development organizations in the fields of agriculture, livestock, range management, etc to find solutions for the problems facing by the farmers.