FAISALABAD  -The University of Agriculture Faisalabad on Monday approved non-development statement of accounts worth Rs3.28 billion for year 2015-16.

The approval was made during 44th Senate meeting, which was chaired by UAF VC Dr Iqrar Ahmad while Registrar Muhammad Hussian presented the agenda and Treasurer Umar Saeed presented statement of accounts.

Addressing on the occasion, VC Prof Dr Iqrar said that the university has kicked off 48 new degrees program in the last couple of years, keeping in the view the modern challenges. He said that the number of students' enrolment in the campus has crossed 25,000, which was 16,000 in 2013.

He pointed out that for attracting students belonging to rural and underprivileged areas for admission, the UAF financial assistance programme has crossed to Rs700 million.

Dr Iqrar said that academia-industry linkages and knowledge based economy are pivotal to compete with the rest of world. "Our competitive research portfolio has crossed Rs2.5 billion, which is the largest among the all the varsities in the country, he claimed.

Talking about agriculture research, the VC said that Pakistan is spending 0.1 percent of its GDP on agriculture research "while India utilizes, four times more than us." He urged the government to invest in agricultural research that will help address the daunting issues of low productivity, rural development, food insecurity and others.   

He said that farmers are applying five methods of irrigations for wheat crop whereas "we recommend applying three irrigation methods for wheat with raising concerns water scarcity," the VC added. He said the water, saved from through reduced irrigation from five to three times across the country, would be equal to Tarbela and Mangla storage.

He said that one of the challenges which Pakistani people is facing in health "malnutrition" reached at panic stage. He said that 40 percent of total population is being faced malnutrition today.

Throwing light on challenges in agriculture, the VC said that post harvest losses account for 40 percent of total losses, for which the farmers would have to adopt modern techniques.

He said that agriculture crops, vegetables and foods worth billions of rupees could be saved by adopting modern handling, storage, processing, transportation, and value addition to minimize post harvest losses.