Islamabad (Staff Report): The Higher Education Commission (HEC) held a meeting on Collaboration in Agricultural Research to discuss prevailing scenario, challenges and future opportunities in the agricultural universities of the country and provincial agriculture departments. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Arshad Ali, Executive Director, HEC.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Arshad Ali said that Research and Development (R&D) is one of the core strategic aims of HEC. Since its establishment in 2002, HEC has initiated, devised and implemented numerous programmes to cultivate a culture of quality and relevant research in the higher education institutions. He observed that magnitude and quality of research has been gradually increasing, which has been widely acknowledged nationally as well as internationally. “However, this is just a beginning and we not only have to sustain this trajectory, but also to contemplate and ensure that R&D activities constructively impact life of the people of Pakistan through academic, economic and social contributions,” he underlined. He maintained that HEC has been at the forefront of facilitating higher education institutions in fostering quality and relevance of research.
The Executive Director said agriculture is the backbone of Pakistan’s economy and
HEC is promoting agricultural research activities in the country’s agricultural universities. He stressed the need for inter-provincial collaboration to foster the agricultural research in the country. He maintained that agriculture research board should also be established in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir like Punjab and Sindh. He offered funding to all provincial agriculture departments through universities in different projects. He said the world is witnessing a dramatic change in agriculture, adding that Pakistan needs to adopt new technologies to cope with the new challenges in agricultural research and education.
Moreover, he assured of providing digital library access to provincial agricultural departments on fulfilment of legal formalities. He also assured his full support to formulate and finalise a roadmap for agricultural research projects.
Dr. Muhammad Latif, Adviser (R&D), HEC, all provincial Agriculture Secretaries along with a number of Director Generals and Vice Chancellors of agriculture universities Mr. Sheikh Shakeel, Additional Secretary, Government of Sindh, Mr. Shaukat Ali, Additional Secretary, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Mr. Ahmad Raza Khan, Secretary Agriculture, Government of Balochistan, and Mr. Abdul Sattar, Additional Secretary Agriculture attended the meeting.
Capt. (R) Muhammad Mahmood, Secretary Agriculture, Government of the Punjab, joined this meeting though video conference. Dr. Sarwat Naz Mirza, Vice Chancellor, Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi and Dr. Noor P. Khan, Vice Chancellor, Agriculture University, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were also present on the occasion. Vice Chancellors of other agriculture universities also joined this meeting through video conference.