This was stated by Professor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan, Vice Chancellor, University of Agriculture, while briefing the visiting political and economic officer of US Consulate Lahore Robert Kemp and participants in 15th Mid-Career Management Course (MCMC), National Institute of Management (NIM) who made a one-day study visit to UAF under the stewardship of DG NIM Tauqir Ahmad here at syndicate Hall.
Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan underscored the need of timely and affordable supply of best agricultural inputs, provision of agricultural loans and application of modern technology with required horsepower that, he said are the key towards bridging the potential and average yield of the country.
The VC said UAF is planning to make both vertical and horizontal growth by making arrangements to meet the needs of coming years as he termed the residential infrastructure has been chocked to cope with the growing enrolment demands. He appraised the visiting delegation about the admission process, and engagement of needy students on hourly-base jobs at campus besides offering scholarships to more than 3,500 students by 30 different endowments. He said the university is strategically planning to double its first-degree courses and post-graduate programmes in the next two to four years as the same was done during the last four years.
He said the extramural funding of rupees 2.0 billion won by its scientists on competitive grounds could be termed a national record among 140 universities of the country that is a testament of its galvanised and meritorious scientists. “More than 110 scientists have been awarded research productivity awards in 2013 by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST),” he added. He was of the view that we need to take good care of 70 million cattle of the country by feeding them good fodder and keep them healthy and productive so that an average milk production could be enhanced to at least 15-litter a day.
Dr Khan said though Pakistan is placed at 4th position in date production adding that our dates are best in the world owing to its unique taste and quality still due to lack of processing and other infrastructure limitations, the country could not harness full potential of its export “foreign earning of dates are more than the total foreign exchange earning of mango and citrus,” he added.
He maintained that in the given circumstances of growing population and shrinking water availability and other depressing issues, the agriculture is performing quite well and feeding the 200 million population of the country “even though we need to increase the yield up to full potential as FAO urges the countries to bridge the gap between population and grain production where the whole world in general and Asian countries in particular are lagging far behind as the grain is being produced at 0.9 percent against 1.6 percent growth in population,” he added.
Earlier introducing the participants in 15th mid-career Management Course, DG NIM said the visit is meant to enhance the skill and management operations of the participants and inland training of the officers is a part of their course to sharpen their professional capabilities. Later, the delegation visited women complex, bio-energy plant, Monsanto corn field and various labs of the university.