LAHORE: HBL Zarai Services Limited and the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) signed an agreement to collaborate on developing farm research and excellence centers across Punjab province, a statement said on Monday.
The centers will use designated lands provided by UAF and integrate them with the concept of HBL Zarai Dera, a network of rural service centers that offer financial and non-financial solutions to farmers.
The collaboration aims to promote sustainable agriculture, increase farm productivity, and bridge the gap between academia and industry. It will also involve cutting-edge research, market development, infrastructure support, and digital inclusion for farming communities.
HBL president and CEO Muhammad Aurangzeb said the collaboration was a step towards harnessing the potential of Pakistan's agricultural sector, which accounts for nearly a fifth of the country's gross domestic product.
"Integrating academia and industry is of strategic significance. The bank through such collaboration has further emphasized on its broader vision of driving economic prosperity and establishing Pakistan as a competitive player in the global agricultural landscape," he said.
UAF Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said the centers would play a pivotal role in advancing modern agricultural practices in Punjab, which is the country's largest and most populous province. "It is a transformative step in agriculture education and a foundation in building long term bridges between industry and academia."
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