Experts during separate ceremonies said that an increase in per-acre agricultural production and the adoption of latest methods are perquisite to ensure food security, adding that 58 percent of the population was faced with food insecurity in the country.
The ceremony was held to launch a food company by UAF Food Sciences scholars for the boarding the students of Post- Graduate Agricultural Research Station (PARS), UAF. The company will provide the nutritious foods to hostels’ students as per suggestion of nutrient experts to fulfill their need of calories etc at subsidised rates.
University of Agriculture Faisalabad Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan, Community College Principal Dr Ijaz Ahmad Bhatti, Principal Officer PRP Dr Jalal Arif and other faculty members attended the ceremony.
He said UAF was taking all measures to equip the students with the skills of entrepreneurship coupled with modern technologies so that they become future farmers to meet the challenges of food and job creation. He said that 58 percent of population was under the grip of food insecurity.
He was of the view it was a matter of concern that areas of agricultural land were diminishing and being replaced with residential colonies owing to massive urbanisation and increasing population. He said that 92 percent of farmers were the poor.
Due to increasing population coupled with distribution of land from generation to generation, the farms size is decreasing day by day. He said that the situation demanded skilled manpower to get the maximum yield potential from small units of farming. He was of the view that the UAF was taking all possible measures to train the manpower with futuristic approach to cope with the challenges.
On the other side, a meeting was organised by USAID Centre for Advanced Studies (CAS) in Agriculture and Food Security, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (UAF) and LUMS at UAF’s Syndicate Room.
UAF Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan, CAS Director Prof Dr Basher Ahmad and Dr Nancy J Allen form University of California Davis, USA and other notables also attended the meeting.
Syed Baber Ali, the PRO to Chancellor of Lahore University of Management Sciences called for taking measures to develop and promote heat-resilient crops, precision agriculture, biotechnology, efficient water usage and agricultural policy reforms in order to ensure the food security and to fight the challenges of climate changes.
He said that amid the shrinking area of agricultural land, it was a challenge for farming community and agricultural experts to ensure the food security in the region. He said that a mechanism must be devised to store the water for agriculture in line with California. He added that in California, ten time more water than a year was being stored to fight the challenges of climate changes. He said that last year, the country wasted record water.
He showed his concern that the farming community was being exploited by the middle man, adding that the middle man role must be reduced in order to safeguard farmers rights. He added that with the passage of time, an increase was being witnessed in small farmers, comprising 90 percent. “We have to get more productivity from the small units, he added. Rural people were migrating towards cities and giving the agricultural land on rent. He called for developing skilled manpower equipped with agricultural education which can run their agri business based on innovative ideas. He was of the view that a scheme of providing micro loan to agricultural graduates must be kicked off so that they can materialize their ideas of agricultural business,” he said.
Dr Nancy J Allen from University of California said all possible measures were being taken for ensuring the food security through CAS in Pakistan.