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Technology based farms to be created to promote export-based agriculture

Technology based farms to be created to promote export-based agriculture

ISLAMABAD, Sep 13 (APP): Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain has announced to create 500 technology based farms initially in the country to promote export-based agriculture under the novel project of Precision Agriculture.

Agriculture sector is considered as the backbone for Pakistan’s economy and can contribute a big share in Gross Development Product through adopting the
state-of-the-art technology.

Therefore, his ministry is endeavouring to introduce modern technology for improving agriculture practices and boost the production level of different crops which would boost economy as well as make the farmers prosperous, he told APP.

Under the project of Precision Agriculture, Chaudhry Fawad said two, five and 12.5 acres farms would be given technology packages including drone, water censors, pesticides censors, packaging facility, seed selection etc.

He said in our country, maximum production at even 12.5 acres land is not sufficient for our farmer to bear expenses however, in China, farmers could get optimum production at one acre land through tech-based agricultural practices which was enough for the whole year.

He was of the view that laser leveling of fields could maximize productivity of irrigation water at the farm level. This would help produce more crop per drop through optimal use of water and non-water inputs.

The federal minister in his tweet said this year, Faisalabad Agricultural University has received 50 per cent more admissions applications than last year.

The interest in admissions has also increased in other agricultural universities.
“The interest of youth in agriculture is very welcome. It will change Pakistan’s agriculture field”, he said.

The second part of this project, he mentioned, is to develop corporate livestock farms for the farmers. Pakistan Halal Authority has been created which would ensure quality of meat and Islamic way of sacrificing animals.

Listing another initiative, Chaudhry Fawad said an Electric Vehicle value chain would be established in Pakistan under the strategic alliance between Pakistan and China based companies.

The investment of 50 million dollars would be made initially in the project while manufacturing of the electric buses would begin in the second phase.

“Around 25 percent of the global pollution comes from the transport sector and environmental hazards can be addressed widely through shifting on electric vehicles”, he said.

Chaudhry Fawad also mentioned another project of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education under which 440 schools would be converted into STEM schools in the first phase.

Around 100,000 students would be imparted STEM education annually from Grade IX to Grade XII.

He said Pakistan has great potential in Information Technology however, lagging behind in hard-core science. This project would enable the country to produce scientists.

The federal minister was of the view that Pakistan had a robust beginning in terms of scientific interventions since its establishment. The country had the best laboratories in the year 1952 which later resulted in formation of Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research with an objective to connect industry and scientific research and led to the industrial revolution of 1960.

Pakistan’s space program was started in 1960’s by the great scientists like Dr. Abdus Salam. Pakistan when sent its first rocket `Rehbar’ in space in 1963, was the second country in Asia after Union of Soviet Socialist Republics which has achieved this success.
Many countries even India was not even a part of that race, he said.

After Dhaka fall in 1971 and then Afghanistan situation, the biggest strategic mistake by Pakistan was its inability to combine civil and military research despite the world’s
emphasis on bridging civil-military research.
“This is the reason that today we can develop Al-Khalid Tank but not our own cars”, he lamented.

Pakistan is among those handful countries which make JF thunder in partnership with China with 70 percent of its locally made electronics but could not make our own mobile or car.
The first task after joining this ministry was to connect civil military research for which the Prime Minister, Imran Khan, created civil-military interface under which ministries of Science and Technology, Information Technology and Defence would work together in a framework which would be beneficial in future, he said.

Another initiative taken by this ministry was to revive industry-academia linkage reflected during the COVID-19 situation when our scientists and engineers produced necessary medical equipment like Personal Protective Equipments, sanitizers, ventilators etc., and making Pakistan as a major exporter of COVID-19 material.

The minister said Sialkot city would be made as special economic zone through setting up an electromagnetic industry.

After 1970, the biggest setback for Pakistan in engineering sector was its inability to create its own combustion engine which is now replaced by batteries due to the technology advancement, he said.

Pakistan in the next 20 years cannot ignore the renewable energy and new technologies in electric industry. “It will be an ideal situation for the country that it will be generating its own electricity through wind and solar energy and storing that electricity in its own manufactured lithium-ion batteries”, Chaudhry Fawad said.

Pakistan is blessed with ample sunshine and wind and shifting on these alternative energy resources would help reduce cost of electricity, he added.

Source: APP

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