Joint efforts needed to address problems of farmers: minister

Punjab Agriculture Minister Farrukh Javed has called for joint efforts on the part of scientists, stakeholders, extension workers and the government in order to address the problems of farming community. He was chairing 41st senate meeting of the University of Agriculture Faisalabad(UAF) at the New Senate Hall.

Terming the agriculture sector a lifeline for the development of country, he said that the government was setting up think tank on agriculture in a bid to cope with challenges confronting the sector. He said, “We cannot survive without the agriculture as it was providing raw materials to all sectors. He said that it was a matter of concern that the farmers were unhappy owing to low productivity, raising cost of production etc which was compelling them to change the occupation.

In this regard, collaborated efforts are needed to come up with the doable solutions of their problems.

He said that climate changes, low productivity and imbalance use of inputs were posing the serious threats to agriculture. He said government was making all-out effort to solve the problems of farming community by providing funds and had kicked off numerous initiatives, including rural roads (farms to markets). He congratulated the UAF for emerging ever-first educational institution in the country ranked among the top 100 universities. He said the government was taking tangible steps to address the electricity crisis.

UAF Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said the university research portfolio has crossed three billion rupees. The UAF was meant for the food security and rural development. He added that the education was the only tool that could bring prosperity and development in any countries. He lauded the steps being taken on the part of the government for the cause of education. He added that the government had earmarked Rs 71 billion for the education in the budget whereas it was Rs 48 billion last year that would bring tangible results to fight the different challenges and alleviate poverty.

He thanked Punjab government for provision of record funds to the UAF in the last couple year to strengthen its infrastructure and other faculties that include 1000 hostels for women and 500 foreign scholarships. He said that the UAF was enjoying the good relations with many countries. He said the USAID funded Centre for Advanced Studies in Food Security and Agriculture had started functioning. Under the CAS, 100 faculty members of the UAF will go to University of California, USA for capacity-building. He said last year, the UAF had recruited 130 teaching staff to narrow down the teacher-student ratio that was standing at 1 to 30. He also said that Chinese Confucius Culture Centre had also been set up at the campus to provide the facility to the students.

Registrar Muhammad Hussain conducted the proceedings.

The senate also approved the UAF budget worth Rs 5,078.013 million for the financial year 2015-16. The budget was presented by Treasurer Umar Saeed. The non-development budget is Rs 3,573.9 million whereas the development budget (federal government funded) is standing at Rs 923.871 million and Development budget (Punjab Government funded) Rs 551.106 million. The budget for Water Management Research Centre is Rs 29.219 million.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015


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