Punjab Agriculture Minister Dr Farrukh Javed has assured that with the cooperation and efforts of agricultural scientists, the problems of small farmers will be solved on priority basis.
The provincial minister made the remarks during a visit to Ayub Agricultural Research Institute here the other day.
The minister visited research laboratories and experimental area and was briefed about the ongoing research activities in the institute. Speaking on the occasion, the minister said that research achievements of the institute could hardly be over emphasized, however, informing the farmers about the research findings was the need of the hour. He said that prime objective of agriculture research was the solution to the problems faced by farming community and the agriculture scientists should strengthen coordination with the farmers so that research priorities could be formulated keeping in view the problems being faced by small growers. Highlighting the importance of ensuring food security to ever increasing population, the minister said that the scientists should develop strategy to solve new challenges faced by agriculture sector like climatic changes, water scarcity and increasing temperature.
Dr Noorul Islam, Director General Agriculture (Research) while briefing the minister about the research conducted at the institute, said that with the help of new varieties developed at AARI rapid increase in crops, fruits and vegetables would be achieved in next five years. Informing about the research priorities of the institute, he said that the value addition and introducing new plants and crops was of utmost importance as it would generate additional foreign exchange besides increasing income of the growers. Dr Noorul Islam told that 1,035 agricultural scientists were working at the institute and among these 122 are PhD and 747 MSc degree holders.
Rana Zulfiqar Ali, Director Sugarcane Research Institute, told the minister that sugarcane varieties developed at the Institute possess the yield potential up to 2000 maunds per acre and if the latest production techniques are adopted the sugarcane production could increase considerably in the country. The minister was also informed that due to new short duration crop varieties developed at AARI, Faisalabad the acreage of important crops has increased as the new varieties ripen within short period of time.