The University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) and the Ayub Agricultural Research Institute (AARI) will enhance collaborative efforts in the areas of research and academia to ensure food security in the country.

It was discussed by UAF Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan, AARI Director General (DG) Dr Abid Mehmood and outgoing DG Dr Noorul Islam Khan at the reception held in the honour of AARI incoming and outgoing DGs here on Monday.

Former Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi Vice Chancellor Dr Khalid Mehmood, Faculty of Agriculture Dean Dr Muhammad Arshad, Chairman Dr Abdus Salam and Office of Research Innovation and Commercialization Director Dr Rao Asif Ali also spoke on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Abid Mehmood stressed the need for strengthening agriculture sector more in the country by promoting value addition, post harvest techniques and other latest agricultural practices. Terming the sector lifeline for the country, he said it was contributing 21 percent to the Gross Domestic Product and more than 60 percent of population was associated with it. He said that collaborative efforts were bringing tangible results for the improvement in the sector.

Outgoing AARI DG Dr Noorul Islam said that AARI had evolved more than 425 new varieties of different crops which was guarantee for substantially boost up in the overall per acre yield. He said with the efforts of agricultural scientists, the production of wheat in the province had witnessed 7 folds increase. He said that during his tenure as DG, more than 50 varieties of different crops were approved in the country out of which 38 varieties were from AARI.

In his speech, Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said that agricultural scientists had developed as many as 5,000 new varieties of different crops across the country so far and most of them are alumni of UAF. He said that UAF and AARI joint research activities had gained momentum keeping in view new challenges confronting the country. He added the average agriculture production has increased many folds since 1947.

The wheat production has gone up seven percent, rice 13 percent, sugarcane eight percent and potato 116 percent. He also said situation of food security was worsening and now we had to depend on growing genetically modified crops in the country to avert the impact of hunger.

Dr Khalid Mehmood said that food security was not linked to wheat security. We have to focus on other crops also to meet the challenges of 21st century. He was of the view that increment in per acre production is vital to alleviate the hunger from the country.

Dr Muhammad Arshad said that Pakistan is blessed with four seasons, best climate. We have to adopt the latest agricultural practices to increase the productivity. He also called for using saving the water for the coming generation by adopting the latest agri practices. Prof Dr Asif Ali said that AARI and UAF are committed to give the solutions to challenges of food insecurity. He said that the collaborated efforts will open up new avenue in the country. Dr Abdus Salam said that value addition must be applied that will flourish the sector.