FAISALABAD-Experts called for making joint efforts through Canadian and Pakistan agricultural institutes to address the challenges of food insecurity and to take benefit from each other’s experience.

It was discussed at a meeting held between a Canadian delegation and UAF Vice Chancellor Dr Iqbal Zafar. The three-member Canadian delegation was comprised McGill University’s Associate Prof Jaswinder Singh, Dr Tarlok Singh Sahota from Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Station and Harpinder Singh from Spring Wheat and Triticale Breeding.

Jaswinder Singh said that the UAF was the oldest agricultural insinuations in the subcontinent. He called for identifying the areas to initiate joint efforts. He said that Candida had shifted 12 million acre from the other crops to pulses and was exporting it to subcontinent and other areas. He said that HEC had been playing a pivotal role in the development of the sector and to send the Pakistani students to overseas. He said that Punjab Agriculture University Ludhiana has set up a model to overcome the issue of whitefly that can be replicated in the other parts. He also said that we should submit the proposals in IDRC.

Talking to the delegation, the vice chancellor said that amid situation of climate change and ever-increasing population, the agriculture sector was in the grip of different threats. It demands concrete efforts of the experts, farming community and researches institutions, he added. He further added that there was a need to work on the specific issues that are haunting the progress of agriculture sector.

He stressed a need for learning from each other’s experience for the public welfare. He said that the UAF was running multiple research projects with Canadian institutions. He said, “Despite being the agricultural country, we have to import oil worth Rs300 billion. There is a need to promote oil crops.”

Dean Faculty of Agriculture Dr Amjad said that it was a matter of concern that per acre production of crops was lower compared that of the developed countries. He said that there is a need to adopt modern trends to meet the demands of ever increasing population. He said that the UAF was making efforts to address the issues of the sector.

Dean Faculty of Food Sciences Dr Masood Sadiq Butt said that 40 percent of population was stunted whereas malnutrition is rampant among children and women suffering from anemia and iron deficiency. He said that men were facing Vitamin D deficiency.

Dean Faculty of Animal Husbandry Dr Sajjad Ahmad Khan said that there was need to adopt the modern trend in the agricultural sector to increase the productivity. Dean Faculty of Social Sciences Dr Ashfaq Mann said that the agriculture was the backbone of the national economy that is contributing 21 percent to the gross domestic product.

Chairman Department of Entomology Dr Jalal Arif said that his department was running projects on fruitfly and whitefly in collaboration with other agricultural institutions. He said that the projects would help increase farmers’ income and cotton production.

Dr Ashfaq Ahmad from Department of Agronomy UAF said that the climate changes were posing serious threats to the agricultural sector due to changing pattern. He said they were assisting the Punjab Government in re-designing agro ecological zones. He said that if measures were not taken to address the climate change issue, it will aggravate the issue of food security.

Dean Faculty of Social Sciences Dr Ashfaq Mann, Dean Faculty of Agriculture Engineering Dr Allah Baksh, Dean Faculty of Sciences Dr Asghar Bajwa, External Linkage Dr Rashid Ahmad and other notables also attended the meeting.