Maiden collaboration with UN Food and Agriculture Organization to boost seed sector
Realizing its vision to support and uplift small farmers through research and innovation, the University of Sargodha has inked a landmark agreement with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
The agreement was signed on September 7, 2018 by Minà Dowlatchahi, the FAO Representative and Vice Chancellor Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad at the main campus with the aim to strengthen institutional capacity in the seed sector. Rosana Frattini, FAO Partnership Officer, Pakistan and Dr Shakeel Khan, Seed Sector Consultant, FAO were also present.
The collaboration underscores the importance of supply of quality seed to the farmers in line with the Amended (2015) Seed Act 1976 and the Plant Breeders' Rights Act, 2016. It will strengthen the SU Faculty of Agriculture Out-reach Extension Educational Program by building the capacities of the maximum number of stakeholders.
Addressing the signing ceremony, the Vice Chancellor remarked, “The SU is committed to promoting research and technology in the agriculture sector to enhance the productivity,” adding that the University with the cooperation of its global partners is focusing research on potential agricultural products of the region like citrus and sugarcane.
Minà Dowlatchahi said that through this initiative, the FAO wished to support small farmers, create income opportunities for women, provide dieting guidelines and soil profiling in Punjab.
“We look forward to cooperate with Sargodha University to strengthen modern technologies in the field of agriculture and food like irrigation to water management and kitchen gardening,” the FAO Representative added.
According to the letter of intent, FAO and Sargodha University agreed to the following capacity development activities:
- FAO will facilitate SU in its endeavor to develop training programs targeting small-to-medium scale farmers, agri-business and entrepreneurs.
- It will support SU in identifying short-to-medium term consultants to assist the University in contextualizing research findings to benefit small scale farmers as well as small and medium enterprises.
- FAO will facilitate the development of a technology delivery mechanism and SOPs between SU and the private sector.
- It will further facilitate the SU faculty to pilot new practices by sharing knowledge and giving access to its global success stories.
- FAO e-learning courses, such as Pre-breeding for Effective Use of Plant Genetic Resources, may be freely integrated into SU graduate-level curricula.
- The FAO-Pakistan Office will facilitate SU in applying online to the FAO Headquarters Internship Program with a view to place potential students in relevant projects.
The Food and Agriculture Organization is one of the United Nations institutions and its mandate is to eradicate hunger, improve productivity, raise living standard of rural populations and contribute to the growth of the world economy.