FAISALABAD-Fifty percent of children are facing malnutrition for which one egg and two dates should be provided in the schools for each student by the government and private educational institutions to ensure a healthy society, experts said.

UAF Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad said that unfortunately, majority of Pakistani dates were of inferior quality. “If we initiate value addition, we can earn foreign exchange worth billions of rupees. The UAF scientists have gathered 500 indigenous mango germplasm and data analysis and further characterisation they introduced 10 verities of enormous yield potential and longer shelf life.

He said that the UAF has developed a short-duration cotton variety that will increase the productivity. He said there is a huge margin to grab the world in the export of dates for which we have to adopt the international standards.

Pro to Chancellor of Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) Syed Babar Ali chaired a meeting of agricultural experts at syndicate room and later attended a seminar on the role of women in the livestock sector.

He stressed a need for value-addition to agricultural produce to grab international standards. He said that Pakistani mango is well demanded across the globe due to its aroma and taste. “We have to put our focus on meeting the demand of world standards with value addition. The country is blessed with tremendous resources in the agriculture. The agriculturists should develop model farms of mango, citrus and dates that can be replicated,” he said.

He said the country could not achieve the uplift target without involving women in socioeconomic activities and bringing them into mainstream. He said that empowerment of women was vital to get sustainable development and to fight the challenges being confronted by the society.

He said girls should be encouraged to study higher level and to play their active role in the development of the county. He said that agriculture was the backbone of the national economy and 50 percent of agriculture was depending upon livestock sector.

He asked the students to keep thinking out of the box about various steps of agricultural supply and value chain and identify the issues to be taken care of, to become entrepreneurial in that respect.

He urged the experts to evolve a demand-driven strategy to meet the challenges in their respective domain. He said agriculture has plenty of potential to employ and absorb thousands of young professionals in the emerging businesses starting right from farm gate to the dining table of the consumers.

Commissioner Faisalabad Momin Agha said that the government was taking revolutionary measures to uplift the agriculture sector in order to alleviate the poverty which is directly linked to agriculture sector.

Department of Rural Sociology Chairman Dr Ashfaq Mann women were standing shoulder to shoulder with men in socio-economic activities in the developed countries. He said the women need to explore their inbuilt leadership qualities.

Dr Amanullah Malik said that with the postharvest techniques, we can not only save the productivity but also it would help in the export of the agricultural produces. He urged the growers to carefully make necessary arrangement of crop handling as a sizeable volume of fruit used to be destroyed during handling, transportation and storage.

Dr Izhar Ahmad said that the university was taking steps for the development of agriculture sector and to polish the skills of the students and farmers.