Enhanced role of women in agriculture sector and gender empowerment are essential to make sustainable socio-economic development.

This was stated by speakers at the International Conference titled Emerging Horizons of Agri Extension for Sustainable Rural Development arranged by Institute of Agri Extension and Rural Development, University of Agriculture Faisalabad.

Addressing on the occasion, UAF Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad said that no society could progress without active participation of the women. He stressed the need for educating the farming community about modern agricultural practices through agri extension and outreach mechanism. He was of the view that the food security was an area of concern as it hit 58 percent population of the country. If our farmers do not adopt the modern pattern of agriculture, the country cannot fulfil the dream of food security.  He expressed his concern that research work was being generated with the large peace but it is not being transfer into goods and services. Keeping in view the University had expedited its outreach and community oriented programme to educate the farmers about latest agricultural tools.

Grant Vinning from Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that Balochistan was worst hit by food insecurity with 90 percent. He said in Balochistan as many as 53 percent of people was living the below the poverty line. He said that under their project in Balochistan aimed at sustainable agriculture, as many as 80,000 farmers are directly benefitting whereas 120,000 are indirectly benefitting. He said that group marketing of small holder farmers and the capacity building of farming community was one of tools to increase the productivity.

Dr Shirely Randell, Managing Director SRI Public Sector Reforms said that the women active participation was vital to compete with the world. She said in Rwanda, agri products are one third of the GDP. She said that Rwanda parliament consists of 64 percent of women and Supreme Court judges comprises 43 percent. She stressed the need to increase involvement of women in socio cultural activities in Pakistan.

Dean Faculty of Social Sciences Prof Dr Iqbal Zafar said that the country was having best cropping system and other agricultural factors. But per acre agricultural productivity was very low. He said that the latest agricultural techniques can help the country ensure the food security.

Institute of Agri Extension and Rural Development Director Dr Tanvir Ali said that the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are getting popularity across the globe. To facilitate our students and other people, the UAF was actively working on MOOCs. He said that the UAF had launched a website for the interactive communication with the farming community. 

Muhammad Rafiq Akhtar, Director, Directorate of Agricultural Information said that one extension worker was working 8 to 10 thousand population of the country. He said that 91 radio stations are functioning in the country. He was of the view that around 128 million of the people in the country have the mobile phones.   He said that his department was making all out efforts to disseminate the latest agri techniques in the farmer community by using the all medium of communication.

Agri Acumen Foundation Global Head Sheikh Noorullah and Dr Iftikhar also spoke on the occasion.