Punjab Minister for Management and Professional Development Syed Hussain Jahanian Gerdezi on Wednesday said that agro-based skilled development was vital to steer the country towards sustainable development, poverty alleviation and improvement in the national economy.
He was addressing an International Symposium on global value chain power, power relations and challenges for decent work agenda in developing countries, arranged by the Department of Rural Sociology and Institute of Business Administration University of Agriculture Faisalabad in collaboration with International Center for Development and Decent Work (ICDD).
He said 60 percent of the population was below the poverty line and consisted of the younger population, adding that the need of the hour was to provide technical as well as professional education and training to them for a better future. In the past, no measures were taken to attract youth towards technical training to reduce unemployment levels in the country. The minister said the present government had taken many steps to promote technical education at the national level, in order to compete with the rest of the world.
Gerdezi said precision agriculture had taken roots for yield enhancement in the world but unfortunately we failed in adopting this model. He said that unluckily, we had a little manpower who could operate modern sophisticated agricultural machinery, but there was a need to prepare skilled manpower. The minister said that at the time of the inception of Pakistan, we were a water-intense nation. But, now we were listed as a water-scarce county. Keeping in view, we have to wean off traditional irrigation methods and opt high efficient irrigation methods, he added.
UAF Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Ashraf said without a good quality of seed, you cannot harvest the economically viable crop. Most of the land of our country was under the cultivation of flawed seed that had failed in producing good results. He said in China, they had seed and cultivation regulatory mechanisms to curb flawed seed and to increase productivity. We have to adopt a similar model, he added.
Ashraf said the need of the hour was to promote high-efficient irrigation agriculture, as flood watering had become outdated and we have to take measures to replace it with other ones.
Prof Christoph Scherrer from International Center for Development and Decent Work (ICDD) said ICDD was a global multidisciplinary network of eight partner universities, with its head office at the University of Kassel (Germany). It contributes to the global fight against hunger and poverty through research and education to promote economic growth, employment and decent work.
UAF Department of Rural Society Chairperson Dr Saira Akhtar said ICDD decent work with UAF was initiated in 2009 and had produced 70 scholars and completed 18 projects altogether. NAVTEC Executive Director Nasir Khan, In-charge IBMS Dr Khalid Bashir, Dr Abdul Ghafor, Dr Mubashar Mehdi and other notables also spoke on the occasion.