The shrinking profitability in agriculture sector, injudicious use of inputs, poor farming techniques, postharvest practices and effects of climate change on crops are not only making the sector incompatible with the rest of world but also aggravating woes of the farming community.
This was stated by University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmed during a media briefing on the objectives and successes of US Pakistan Centre for Advanced Studies (USPCAS) in Agriculture and Food Security.
He said sixty percent of water and inputs at the agricultural fields are being wasted due to imbalance usage and unavailability of modern technologies. He said climate changes are playing havoc with the crop production and food security like issues. He said support price of 40kg wheat was fixed at Rs1,300 whereas after including interest rate of banks and other charges, it costs Rs1,500 to the government against its international market price Rs1,000.
He said the fast-changing demography, climate and international trade policies are impacting the economies of the countries. In this scenario, agriculture seems to be more important than what might have appeared as a source of food security only.
He said under USAID funded USPCAS, five chairs including climate change, precision agriculture, biotechnology, outreach and policy have been established to address the problems of the agriculture sector by making it compatible to international market. He said that under faculty-student exchange program, as many as 138 slots were created to send the students and faculty members to University of California USA for capacity building and learn from their experience. He said that USPCAS has initiated commissioned research, keeping in view the needs of farmers and trends in agriculture.
He said the university has kicked off three new degree program including seed science and technology; climate changes; and human nutrition.
Reporter. Effective steps for agriculture uplift underlined. The Nation, May 22, 2017.