Lahore (Press Release) - The Government College University (GCU) Lahore Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Punjab Agriculture and Research Board (PARB) for research collaboration in agriculture sector. 

GCU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Hassan Amir Shah and PARB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Noor ul Islam Khan signed the 17-point accord at a graceful ceremony organised by the GCU Directorate of Academic Planning and External Links (AP&EL) at the University’s Syndicate Committee Room. PARB Executive Member Dr Muhammad Younas and GCU Registrar Mr Saboor Khan were also present.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Noor ul Islam Khan called upon the researchers to focus on applied research which plays a direct role in development of the country. He said that the government had increased their budget for research from Rs 200 million to Rs 700 million to enhance sustainable productivity of crops in the agriculture sector.

He said that PARB had the adequate funding available, and they were looking forward to valuable research projects which could enhance sustainable productivity of high value crops, reduce poverty and ensure food security.

The PARB CEO highlighted the need to bring their framers out of ‘four crops syndrome’; wheat, cotton, rice and sugarcane, and promote the high-value crops like Pista and Zafran. He also asked the researchers to bring forward research projects on bio-pesticides, saying that organic pesticides would soon become redundant because of resistance in the soil against them.

Dr Noor ul Islam Khan revealed that PARB had sought the collaboration from HEC, so that no researcher could get double funding for the same project. He said that Pakistan should also work on value addition of its crops, adding that more than 4500 products could be developed from corn. 

Addressing the ceremony, Vice Chancellor Prof Hassan Shah expressed gratitude to PARB for awarding Rs 21.9 million research project to GCU Department of Environmental Sciences for cost effective improvement in nutritive value of rice and wheat crops through nano-particles dopted biochar in saline-sodic soils. He also said GCU was actively strengthening research and academic ties with foreign and national universities for research collaboration, training of faculty members and exchange of students at postgraduate level.

Earlier, GCU AP&EL Director Ms. Fouzia Shaheen briefed the delegation about the scope of the accord and other active research collaborations of GCU. She said that GCU and PARB would also hold joint conferences, training workshops and seminars.

GCU Dean Faculty of Science and Technology Prof Dr Islam Ullah Khan and Dean of Engineering Prof Dr Raiz Ahmed also addressed the MoU signing ceremony.