FAISALABAD - US Consul General Yuriy R.Fedkiw on Thursday inaugurated $30 million US-Pakistan Centre for Advanced Studies in Agriculture and Food Security at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF).

On the occasion, he called for collaborative efforts at global level for the agricultural growth so as to ensure food security and reduce agricultural waste. Earlier, he chaired a seminar on sustainable agriculture. He was flanked by Aussie Deputy High Commissioner Jurek Jufzczyk, UAF Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad and former speaker National Assembly Fakhar Imam.

The consul general said that 800 million people are hungry as they don’t have an access to nutritive food. The world population will grow to 9 billion people during the current century. He said in order to meet the needs, the agriculture sector must deliver to ensure food security and job opportunities. He stressed a need for understanding the relationship of food, energy, water and economic security.

He said, “We have to find the way to fight the climate change which is disturbing our planet. Pakistan has faced a number of disasters in the last decade. Pakistan agriculture is making significant contribution to the national economy, providing 23 percent to the Gross Domestic Product and engaging 45 percent of the workforce. Women are the primary food producers in the developing countries. They comprise 43 percent to the labour force in the agriculture sector. The United States is committed to creating economic growth and employment opportunities for the people of Pakistan and considers the agricultural sector a top priority.”

He said that agriculture must provide the food security, environmental sustainability and economic development. He said, “We are confident that our investments, in partnership with the Government of Pakistan, will bring long-term positive growth in the sector.”

The consul general encouraged UAF students to find innovative solution to address Pakistan’s agricultural challenges and identify opportunities that will benefit the people of Punjab.

The UAF vice chancellor said that USCAS-AFS is designed to support Pakistan’s economic development by strengthening the relevance and responsiveness of university products, agricultural uplift and applied and policy research to the needs of the farming community.

He said five chairs on climate change, biotechnology precision agriculture, outreach and policy had set up under the centre for the research and development purposes. The CAS is working with its American Partner, University of California, Davis to share an extended outlook of innovative research ideas and exchange of best academic practices, he added.

He said that a group of farmers had been sent to Amira and China to know about the latest practices in the sector.

Deputy High Commissioner Jurek Jufzczyk said Australia was making collaboration with the Pakistani institution to uplift the agriculture sector. He said that the Australia faced drought a decade ago. “With the strategies, and creating the awareness among the public, they have prepared our self for the future challenges,” he said.