Speakers at a workshop on Monday called for conducting trans-disciplinary research work to increase the agricultural productivity and to motivate the farmers regarding applying latest agricultural practices. The workshop titled “linking social research with science to strengthen agricultural value chain” arranged by Department of Rural Sociology, University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF).
The session was chaired by UAF Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan while Professor John Spriggs from the University of Canberra, Australia, was the chief guest. John Spriggs urged the social and applied scientists to enhance their collaboration to jack up the agricultural productivity. He said in Pakistan, one extension worker is available for the population of 1,000 people. Keeping in view, it is need of the hour to improve their due role in spreading the information regarding latest techniques with the usage of modern technology.
He said Australia Pakistan Agriculture Sector Linkages Program (ASLP) Phase 2 is aimed at improving livelihood systems for the rural poor. It is also building linkages between the agricultural sectors of Australia and Pakistan. The ASLP 2 focuses on pro-poor value chains; enabling policy and agricultural capability. He said they were also giving attention to horticulture (mango and citrus) and livestock (dairy) sectors.
Professor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said that the University is promoting the culture of trans-disciplinary research and collaboration. He said that social scientists play a vital role in the disseminating of information by analysing the frame of mind of the target audience. He added that a vast range of knowledge is available. Now, it is a real challenge to transform the knowledge into goods and services. He said that the University has set up a community college to provide the quality education at the college level, as the first step of exercising trans-disciplinary collaborative approaches.
Faculty of Social Science Dean Professor Dr Iqbal Zafar said that Pakistan is blessed with the four seasons, and best eco-system. But per acre productivity is low compared to developed nations because of traditional way of farming. He urged the extension workers and social scientists to increase their role in this regard.
Department Chairman Professor Dr Ashfaq Ahmad Maann said that his department is committed to produce the trained manpower and quality research. He said the social scientists can help the bridging the gap between the applied scientists and the end users.
Dr Izhar Ahmad Khan said in the initial survey of his project about rural, it is found that per family income of small citrus growers is Rs 17,000 whereas for small dairy farmer income is Rs 15,000. The initial survey also tells that mobile phone availability for the small citrus growers is 79 per cent whereas for small dairy farmer it is 75 per cent.