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Tuesday November 30, 2021

40 percent population malnourished: Fakhar Imam

November 23, 2021
40 percent population malnourished: Fakhar Imam

FAISALABAD: Federal Minister for Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam Monday urged agricultural scientists to make integrated efforts to minimise losses of farmers in terms of pest attacks and diseases.

Addressing an inaugural session of 7th Phytopathological Conference: current scenario and future prospect arranged at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad as chief guest online, he said climate changes had provoked outbreak of diseases, causing reduction in the agricultural productivity.

He said cotton curl leaf virus, mangoes trees sudden death, rust of wheat, potato and other crops diseases had incurred heavy losses to national exchequer in the past. He stressed upon the need to enhance the efforts for biological control. He said the government was taking all possible measures under Prime Minister Agriculture Emergency Programme to uplift the sector and to address the grievances of the farming community.

He said 40 per cent of our population was malnourished that is a matter of grave concern. He said we have to adopt the sophisticated machineries. The researchers should come up with viable solution to address the problems of farming community and increase productivity in order to ensure food security. He said China is becoming largest economy, and we should learn how China made tremendous development.

He said we are the seventh largest country in the world in terms of population and it is the need of the hour to increase the productivity to feed the ever increasing population. UAF Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said our agriculture was in the grip of different challenges despite the being of the best eco system, climate and others.

According to estimates, by 2050, the country population will touch to 300 million for which we have to take effective measures to ensure the food security. He said UAF 22,000 students had visited nine-day farmers’ fields in five divisions of the province from November 12 to 20 meant to disseminate new wheat technologies.

He said wheat production can be doubled in the country. He said we have to switch the modern trends. He said effective measures were being taken at the government level to stabilise agricultural development and increase production per acre. This will ensure adequate food availability for the growing population. He added that the country was importing edible worth Rs 10 billion.

He said all our major crops were facing the stagnation for the last two decades. We have to come up with indigenous solution. In Holland, they had made the tremendous progress in the agriculture sector due to a university.

Dean Faculty of Agriculture Prof Dr Amanullah Malik said under the Wheat Sowing Campaign, as many as 22,000 students recently visited five divisions including Gujranwala, Lahore, Sargodha, Faisalabad and Sahiwal to equip the farming community about modern research on wheat and modern trends.

He said the agriculture was the backbone of the our economy, contributing to 19.2 percent to the Gross Domestic Product, President Pakistan Psytopathological Society Tariq Mukhtar said Development of new and innovative ways to control plant diseases is a constant challenge for plant pathologists.

Plant diseases may be managed by altering the host plant, the pathogen, and/or the environment. Examples include growing resistant plant varieties, planting pathogen-free seed or stock, applying a biological control agent, modifying environmental conditions to decrease disease, and using plant medicines that inhibit or kill the pathogen without harming the plant or the environment.

Prof Dr Nazir Javed said the UAF was the mother of all agricultural institutions in the country and making all out efforts for agricultural development.

Prof Dr Shahbaz Talib Sahi urged the need to expedite the efforts to cope with the challenges confronting the agricultural sector. He said the country was blessed with the tremendous resources. He said the moot covers climate change and plant diseases, host-pathogen interactions, molecular plant pathology, biosecurity and plant quarantine, plant disease management, disease resistance, seed and post-harvest pathology and others.

Dr Manzoor Hussain Somro said conference is a fruitful discussion forum for national and international plant pathologists and provide an opportunity to bring faculty, researchers, students, scientists, farmers, and industrialists together in open dialogue under one roof.