Rawalpindi-Speakers on Tuesday stressed the need of engaging local industry (growers, processors and machinery manufacturers) to develop precision agriculture technologies to meet regional needs.

They highlighted involvement of local industry in research; collaboration with academia and research institutions; effective communication; extension and outreach could enhance adaptation of precision agriculture technologies in Pakistan.

They also stressed the need of developing and initiating collaborative research projects between experts of University of Prince Edward Island, Canada and Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi.

They stated this while addressing a one-day international seminar on innovative technologies in agriculture organised by PMAS-AAUR Faculty of Agricultural Engineering, here on Tuesday.

PMAS-AAUR Vice Chancellor Dr Qamar-uz-Zaman was the chief guest while DG Agricultural Engineering Division PARC Liaqat Ali Shahid was the guest of honor.

Dr Qamar-uz-Zaman highlighted issues in agricultural development and stressed the need of the use of modern agricultural technology/machinery to enhance agriculture produce. He explained the role of academia in bringing change in agriculture sector and said that education played a significant role in the development of any country.

He also stressed that there was a dire need of strong link between academia and agriculture industry to address the problems and challenges of agriculture sector to boost the economy of Pakistan. He suggested to improve agricultural production system on scientific lines to enhance sustainable food production and urged the scientists of the university to play their role to create awareness among farming community about the latest techniques in the agriculture to make Pakistan a food sufficient country in order to feed the increasing population.

Keynote speaker, Dr Aitizaz Farooque, associate professor, School of Sustainable Design Engineering, University of Prince Edward Island, Canada said that agriculture was a key resource to ensure food security at the planet. Increasing world’s population demands more food for survival, as agricultural land is shrinking because of urbanisation and intensification. He said that agriculture production typically involved uniform applications of crop growing inputs, ignoring spatial and temporal variations in soil/crop/yield/weather and topographic attributes that exist within fields. Uniform application not only increases the production cost but also adversely affects our environment, he added. He was of the view that sustainable agriculture production requires discoveries, innovations and technical skill, which need to be integrated into traditional farming to achieve targeted applications of crop growing inputs on an as-needed basis. He said that precision agriculture technologies are meant to increase production efficiency, profitability and environmental efficiency. Dr Azam, post-doctoral research associate, Chungbuk National University, South Korea talked about the hardware and software-based smart technologies for early flood warning system directly connected with the mobiles of the people.

Dr Hasan Ali Baig, in-charge of the Institute of Geo Information and Earth Observation of PMAS-AAUR, discussed the challenges in adoption of precision agriculture practices in Pakistan and provided the way forward in the context of remote sensing with special focus on hyper spectral remote sensing. Dr Naveed Tahir delivered lecture on the use of innovative UAV based spraying technology application in Pakistan and said that PMAS-AAUR was going to establish precision drone spraying technology center.