ISLAMABAD, Aug 21: Federal Minister for Food, Agriculture and Livestock Nazar Mohammad Gondal on Thursday said the primary goal of the government was to alleviate the crisis-state in the agriculture sector, which had the potential of bringing economic success for the country.

He was speaking at the concluding workshop of the two-year Agriculture Decision Support System (ADSS) Project undertaken by the Centre for Agro-Informatics Research (C@IR) at FAST-National University.

Mr Gondal said successful application of information technology would help solve various problems being faced by the agriculture sector.

He said the ADSS project had literally given new life to decades-old data by reincarnating it into an agriculture data warehouse.

He said the project would also help illiterate farmers and contribute towards agricultural productivity.

The minister said the agriculture ministry would be ready to support full-scale development of computerised farm guide.

C@IR, the research wing of FAST-National University Islamabad, completed the Rs30.58 million ADSS project under the patronage of eminent agriculture scientist Dr Amir Muhammed, the rector of FAST-National University. Financed by the National Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Research and Development (R&D) Fund, the ADSS provides IT solutions to agricultural problems and has digitised and cleansed the historical data and also analysed it by using indigenously developed IT tools.

Under the project, the 35-member C@IR compiled and published a great number of technical reports, newsletters, articles for international journals and created the prototype ‘Computerised Farm Guide’ which if developed and connected through the mobile network, will assist illiterate farmers.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Prof Ahsan Abdullah, principal investigator and director of the ADSS project, gave an overview of Pakistans first fully functional agriculture data warehouse and informed the workshop about how it had been used to answer key questions. Dr Ahsan Abdullah has authored a book titled ‘A Brief Introduction to Data Mining’, a first of its kind written by a Pakistani.

FAST-NU Rector Dr Amir Mohammed highlighted the pioneer work of applying IT to agriculture carried out by Dr Ahsan Abdullah, which had the potential to bring about the ‘second green revolution’ in the country.

He said Pakistan needed to revive its agriculture sector in order to ensure food security of the nation and have access to the international market.

He said the application of technology to agricultural practices was the need of the hour. He also spoke at length about the latest innovations of C@IR, the Computer Siaan Guide. He also expressed the hope that the agriculture ministry would support the Computer Siaan Guide project.

About 70 people participated in the workshop including 20 PhD scholars and a number of representatives from public and private sector organisations such as the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) and National Agriculture Research Council (NARC).