The speakers included Deputy Australian High Commissioner Paul Molloy, UAF VC Professor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan, Professor Dr Qamar Zaman, Dr Tri Nguyen Quang, Professor Dr Muhammad Iqbal, Dean Faculty of Agri Engineering & Technology, Director WMRC UAF Professor Dr Allah Bakhsh, Dr Anjum Munir, Dr Syed Hamid Hussain Shah, Dr Abdul Ghafoor, and Dr Jahanzib Masood Cheema.
The Australian Deputy HC said that precision farming implied a management strategy to increase productivity and economic returns with a reduced impact on the environment, by taking into account the variability within and between fields. He added that variability description, variable-rate technology and decision support systems were the key technologies for precision farming. He was of the view that precision farming on a regional level was one way to apply this approach to small-farm agriculture, but may also promote the development of rural areas.
The VC UAF said that precision farming provided farmers with a tool to apply fertiliser according to the need of a particular sub-field. He maintained that the savings made with this variable could be fairly large. Dr Khan said that this technology was certainly exciting and was bound to change the face of agriculture in the near future.
Dr Zaman while advocating the use of remote sensing database, said that during the last six years, India and Pakistan witnessed 20 and 10 billion cubic meter water depletion respectively out of 68 billion cubic meter surface water. “We are inefficient in using water, fertiliser horsepower, human capital and other inputs that urge the need to precise our practices,” he added. “If the country remains with the same practice, we will soon see the day of food insecurity for a large segment of the population,” he warned.
Dr Quang said though UNO had introduced a trans boundary aquifer law but many countries were yet to sign it. He was of the view that the key to maximising farm profits was to increase the quantity or quality of a given product, all while minimising inputs and environmental costs. He said these adjustments were often made at the enterprise level; however, there were opportunities for even greater profits if they were made site-specifically.