SINDH AGRICULTURE UNIVERSITY, TANDOJAM
S.KAMAL HAYDER KAZMI,
Research Analyst, PAGE
July 9 - 15, 2012
Pakistan is one of the signatory countries of world trade organization (WTO). The agreements on agriculture in the context of free trade worldwide have increased the responsibilities of agricultural universities of the country to groom and motivate the youth specializing in different disciplines of agriculture by strengthening their efforts manifold to face the competition in agriculture trade and services.
Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam also focuses on agricultural education in Pakistan, improves quality of learning, promotes integrated outlook in the functions of teaching, research, and extension, produces service-oriented graduates, and generates appropriate technologies.
AGRICULTURE GROWTH (%)
YEAR % 2009-10 0.6 2010-11 2.4 2011-12 3.1
The university faculty has to formulate a roadmap to combat the challenges that the farmers are anticipating under WTO regime. The faculty of agricultural engineering is one of the five faculties of the university. The focus of faculty is in the dissemination of technology with special emphasis on interdisciplinary interface among education, research, and outreach activities with specific attention to the environmental and socioeconomic considerations.
The university had been quite foresighted in developing information technology in educating and training the work force in the information technology centre (ITC). This centre was established with a view to impart quality education to the youth of the country in general and the province of Sindh in particular to face the challenges of the new millennium in information technology as high order professionals with academic excellence. The main purpose of the ITC is to produce market-oriented graduates in the field of information technology. It also helps to enhance the research and analytical capabilities of the students and the faculty through the latest advancements in IT. It also shares responsibilities in producing graduates to help agriculture sector in accordance with ever changing global trends in information sharing.
Independent and well-equipped laboratories are available for graduate and post-graduate training and research under the administration of various teaching departments of the university. Computer centre and economic data analysis laboratory have been established for practical research. The department of food technology started its academic activities in 1998 as per provision of PC-I of the university. The purpose of establishment of this department is to meet the requirements of trained work force for strengthening food science and industry, impart quality education, and carry out research in various discipline of food technology to benefit the farming community. Recently, it has been upgraded to the level of food sciences & technology.
Up to 40 per cent agriculture produce are wasted due to lack of knowledge and shortage of trained workforce in the field of processing, preservation and post harvest technologies. The institute has given emphasis on value addition of different agricultural produce such as cereals, fruits, and vegetables through training the work force and conducting research on these aspects of processing and post harvest technology to reduce these losses.
Apart from these activities, the institute of food sciences & technology is also engaged in developing processing technologies to convert the waste produce into consumable form so that it can be consumed by human being as food and can fulfill the nutritional requirement in impoverished rural areas of Sindh and nationwide.
Currently, agriculture sector contributes 21 per cent to Pakistan's gross domestic product (GDP). This sector generates productive employment opportunities for 45 per cent of the country's labor force and 60 per cent of the rural population depends on this sector for its livelihood. It has a vital role in ensuring food security, generating overall economic growth, reducing poverty, and transformation towards industrialization.
The present government is determined to improve the quality of life of people and to banish hunger and malnutrition from the country by making agriculture an efficient, productive, and profitable sector of the economy.
Realizing the food security, the government took timely steps to establish the ministry of national food security and research to tackle the food security issues. The first step is the establishment of the national food security council representing federal, provincial and local level governments. Secondly, through a letter of intent, the ministry in collaboration with the world food programme, is launching the zero hunger programme worth US$1.6 billion to address the food security objective. Under this programme, the ministry shall donate up to 500,000 metric tons of wheat per year and the world food programme intends to negotiate with local producers to exchange part of the donated wheat for high energy biscuits (HEB) and similar products manufactured in Pakistan factories for distributions through WFP operations to primary school children, siblings of malnourished children, and the vulnerable populations especially children at risk of malnutrition. The fund will also be converted to fortified wheat flour for distributions aimed at combating food insecurity in Pakistan.
Flooding in 2011 affected crops like rice, cotton, and sugarcane, although in 2011- 12, they performed well and provided support and continued to support food security objectives this year. The agriculture sector recorded a growth of 3.1 per cent in 2011-12. The profitability of agriculture sector during 2011-12, remained high because the farmers received good prices for rice, cotton and sugarcane, which allowed for greater financial resources passed on to the rural economy.