VEHARI: Experts in a seminar at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad’s (UAF’s) Burewala sub-campus on Saturday called for adopting new cultivation, management and harvesting methods to increase per acre yield of wheat, corn, rice and cotton.

UAF Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said the federal government was planning to set up a university in every district to provide higher education facility at the doorstep of the people. He said he hoped the UAF sub-campus would soon be elevated to the university.

He said the Punjab government approved Rs500 million for the first phase of the project and hoped that soon another allocation would be received.

Dr Khan urged the teachers and students to translate research into goods and services. He asked the principal to access the seminaries and provide them skill development activities.

Dr Khan said this year the country would produce 30 million tons wheat that would bring prosperity to rural areas. He said the government could only store four million tons of wheat so arrangements should be made in public-private partnership to create storage for the bumper crop.

He pressed the experts to plan a strategy to combat the threat of Aferd on wheat. He said 15 to 16 per cent of the grains was lost from the farm gate to the dining table of the consumer.

“If we only save that wastage, it will bring another benefit to the industry,” he added.

He called for the promotion of alternate crops like corn and sunflower in Vehari.

Former provincial minister for livestock Mumtaz Manhais lamented that with 28 mound per acre production of wheat, Pakistan was lagging behind so many countries.

In Pakistan, he said, the low price of a crop was not an issue but increasing the production was the real problem.

UAF Burewala sub-campus principal Prof Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad Rajwana said during a short span of time, the varsity sub- campus, besides expanding its teaching and research portfolio, was working to augment its outreach activity to increase jobs in the region.

Punjab Research Director General Dr Abid Mahmood said that agriculture input prices would be reduced soon. He said only 20 per cent of farmers were using certified seeds. He said in 2012, the Punjab government had announced incentives for wheat farmers with the highest per acre yield and a farmer came up with 98 maund per acre while a majority of them produced 70 maund.

Mukhdoom Husain, Prof Dr Ehsanullah Chehal, Dr Muhammad Yasin and MPA Saqib Khurshid also spoke.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2014