Punjab Agricultural Secretary Rashid Mehmood on Wednesday asked researchers, extension workers and other stakeholders to make joint efforts in order to increase agricultural productivity and to address the issues of farmers.

He was chairing an experts meeting at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad. UAF Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan, Director General Research Dr Abid Mehmood and other experts attended the meeting. He said that the Punjab government was taking all possible steps to solve the issues of farming community and increase per acre production. It will help in reducing poverty in the country, he said.

He urged the experts to map out an applicable and out-of-the-box plan for increased agriculture to benefit farmers and consumers. Majority of population is associated with agriculture that is backbone of our economy, he said, adding that it is contributing 21 percent to the gross domestic product. He was of the view that the heat tolerant and short duration crop having the increased yield potential was the need of the hour to ensure the food security for ever-growing population.

He urged the experts to give proper guidelines to the farmers about increasing the yield. He said that steps were afoot for the uplift of the agriculture sector. He said that Pakistan was blessed with the four seasons and the best ecological zones. He expressed his concern that statistical data must be produced that will help work in the right direction. He said that water scarcity issue is also a matter of concern.

UAF Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said UAF in collaboration with the Punjab Agri Extension Department had developed fertiliser model, giving the guidelines to the farming community about proper fertilisers usage. He said the USAID-funded Center for Advanced Studies in Food Security and Agriculture has been officially launched in collaboration with the University of California, Davis. A Chinese government-funded Confucius centre has started working on the campus. He pledged UAF’s full cooperation to increasing the production and reducing poverty. He said that the UAF was taking all measures for the agricultural development and to address the issues of farmers and other stakeholders through research, academia and outreach.