FAISALABAD -  The agricultural sector needs to be revamped to catch up the modern trends to increase the production and make it profitable business as the sector lags far behind the world, government officers admitted.

Punjab Planning and Development Department’ Production Sector Wing Member Malik Mukhtar Ahmad was addressing an agricultural consultative meeting at the Syndicate Room of University of Agriculture Faisalabad where UAF Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad, Chief Agriculture P&D Department Punjab Dr Muhammad Ashraf, all deans and directors attended the meeting.

The officer urged the agricultural experts to come up with solutions to the issues and farming community. He said that most of the farming community was having small holding. He added that 40 percent world population was living on the 14 percent of the land. He said country is situated at the geographically important place wherefrom the farmers can easily export agricultural produce to the Central Asia, Middle East, China and other countries.

He said that value chain and marketing system must be developed at par with the international standards in order to flourish the sector. He added that tangible initiatives based on research would pave the way for competing with the modern world.

He said, “We are wasting our resources owing to inefficient use of water and inputs etc. It is the need of the hour for the optimal usage of resources that will save millions of the rupees. China-Pak Economic Corridor will open up new avenue of the development and prosperity in term of business opportunity and trade.”

He added that the government was making sincere efforts to uplift the sector. In this regards, Punjab Agricultural Policy was being revamped to address the problems, he said. He opined that the establishment of farmers’ body had become imperative for the promotion of modern agri trends and bringing the farming community out from the clutches of financial issues.

Earlier, the VC talked about the priorities areas and said that the government must promote the drill sowing and quality seed especially for wheat and cotton that will enhance the growth rate up to 4 percent.

He added that in Okara, cultivation of maize and potatoes was lowering down the soil fertility for which we need to introduce the soybean as third crop. He urged the government to establish a soybean centre for the research and development purpose. He said that that the country loses grain and fruit from 20 to 40 percent in the post harvest practices for which we have to promote the modern post-harvest practices.

He said, “Amid the climate change, we have to invest on breeding to develop the climate resilient varieties. To cope with the situation of the malnutrition, people must promote the food diversification. The sudden deaths of the Sheesham, mangoes, guava must be investigated. Forest Department staff must possess the degree in the forestry and agriculture in order to address the issue of the declining forest net.”

He said that the rice and sugarcane are the water intensive crops that must be discouraged amid the situation when the country had been put in the list of the water-scarce countries. He said that the Korean innovation park worth Rs30 billion was being established in the university. He said that the University also houses Chinese Confucius Center.

P&D Department Agriculture Chief Dr Ashraf lauded the steps being taken on the part of the varsity for the development of the agriculture sector and for the farming community.