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UC Davis leads education in program to aid agriculture in Pakistan




  • UC Davis is taking the lead on the graduate education component of an innovative project to modernize agriculture in Pakistan.

    The four-year, $30 million Agricultural Innovation Project will work to improve management practices and productivity of the livestock, horticulture and grains grown in Pakistan, in turn improving the economy and creating a brighter future for its people.

    “It’s a fantastic project,” said Jim Hill, associate dean for international programs with the UCD College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “I’m thrilled that UC Davis will head the human capacity development, educating the agricultural leaders Pakistan needs to advance its agriculture sector.”

    The project was launched recently by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center and the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council.

    UCD will receive $5.2 million, $4.5 million of which will fund placing some 14 Pakistani master of science and and doctorate students in U.S. land-grant universities where they are best suited. With its expertise in agriculture, UCD will likely land many of those students.

    UCD will also work to improve horticulture production in Pakistan by helping farmers grow more high-quality perennial crops and by creating better postharvest technology. UCD will also help Cooperative Extension specialists in Pakistan develop electronic systems for delivering agricultural information to farmers.

    Agriculture is vital to Pakistan’s economic development. With more 187 million people, Pakistan is the sixth-most populated country in the world.

    “Higher education in agriculture is dismally low in Pakistan and the recent turmoil hasn’t helped,” Hill said. “Pakistan’s agricultural issues are very similar to those in the western United States, such as the impact of climate change on irrigation and other water issues, which is another reason UC Davis is so well suited to provide the agricultural education they need.”

    In addition to the education component, USAID will sponsor research to encourage adoption of new technologies such as laser land leveling, zero tillage, residue management and introducing short-duration legumes into rice-wheat cropping systems.

    UCD and PARC will form a committee in May to select students who will begin graduate studies in the United States as early as 2014.

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