Muzaffarabad : A three day International Science Conference on “Prospects and Challenges to Sustainable Agriculture” organized by the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, concluded at Rawalakot.

In this Conference Agriculture Scientist showed their grave concern on a dire need of a paradigm shift in agriculture, because the community is feeling threatened due to unprecedented changes in the environment which is directly undermining food security.

While addressing Concluding Session of the Congress, Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro, Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation said that Faculty of Agriculture , Rawalakot has sufficient personal and facilities hence it may be given charter of full fledged university.

Prof. Dr. Habib-ur-Rehman, Vice Chancellor AJK Varsity said in his address that the Faculty of Agriculture has contributed significantly in promoting research as its share was 50% in publishing research paper of international repute in the last year.

In this conference Agriculture Scientist made certain recommendation. They urged agriculture Department of AJK and Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of Pakistan to create a liaison between Department of Agriculture Extension and the university for promoting problem based research and research based solutions and special emphasis be given on comprehensive collection, documentation and conservation of Germplasm from AJK and Northern Areas of Pakistan to be used in broadening the genetic base.

They emphasized on Plant Breeders to restructure the genotypes of staple and cash crops to enable them to cope with high and low temperature, draught and flooding situations. Policy makers were also voiced for building of infrastructure comprising roads, water storage and go down in the area anticipated to be cultivated in the wake of environmental changes.

They stressed Entomologists and Plant pathologists for strategic planning rather than crises management for upcoming diseases and pests. Biotechnology sector was also emphasized to solve specific problems faced by agriculture community and to avoid repetition in order to save monitory and manpower resources. They considered it more important to put more efforts to establish strong inter-group collaboration and commercialization of bio-fertilizers with the help of private sector and efforts should also be made to collect the microflora of AJK for exploitation of its potential for improving soil fertility and crop production.

It was also emphasized that improvement in quality of food and its nutrition be made by breeding or by fortification and efforts should be made to process according to international standards whatever food is produced in the country in order to facilitate its export. Value addition to the food products be also taken up on top priority.

The stressed Animal scientists for aggressive research work on production of vaccines for various diseases of poultry and animals, and development of quality animal feed using the culturally acceptable and locally available ingredients.

The conference was attended by about 400 delegates including 12 highly decorated (S.I, NI etc) scientists of international repute. Prof. Dr. Dilnawaz Gardezi, Dean Faculty of Agriculture, Rawalakot, and renowned Scientist Prof. Dr. Abdul Majeeb Qazi, Prof. Dr. Farooq Azam, Prof. Dr. Shafqat Farooq, Dr. Saqlain Naqvi also spoke on the occasion.

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