Experts discuss how to control pests

FAISALABAD – A centre for excellence on whitefly and pink bollworm will be established at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad to overcome pests that cause huge loss to the national economy.

PARB Chief Executive Officer Dr Noorul Islam Khan presented the initial funding cheque of Rs 12.5 million to University of Agriculture Faisalabad VC Dr Iqbal. Chairman of Entomology and project manager Dr Jalal Arif, UAF Director Research Dr Zahir A Zahir, Dr Mansoor Sahi, Dr Dildar  Gogi, Dr M Arshad, Dr Ahmad Nawaz, and Dr Abid Ali also attended the ceremony.

Dr Iqbal Zafar said that if the issue was not overcome, it would not only dent the agricultural production but also become responsible for the loss of billions of rupees. He said modern practices must be promoted and practiced in the fields to fight the attack of different insects on different crops. He said that modern seed can double cotton production with the benefit of Rs300 billion to the national economy. He praised the measures of Punjab government for the uplift of the sector and promoting the modern techniques and practices.

He lauded the Entomology Department for conducting a survey on the directives of Punjab Government in the cotton belt on pink bollworm and whitefly. He said the scientists of the Department are working round the clock on different pests.

Dr Noorul Islam said that plant protection measures helped increase per hectare yield by protecting crops from diseases and controlling the pests. He stressed a need to promote modern trend to fight the insects in the field. He said that the social benefit of the projects include the emolument generation, environment protection and improvement in food quality.

Prof Dr Jalal Arif said that after the debacle in the cotton production two years ago, the university conducted the survey of cotton across the province and developed a report on it as per directives of the government.

He said that the projects would help yield improvement, increase in export, decrease in import, improvement in input use efficiency and etc. He said that 28 PhD scholars of the department had completed part of their research in different countries with the HEC funding. Prof Dr Mansoor Sahi said that agriculture is the backbone of our economy that is directly linked to poverty alleviation.

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