US Ambassador in Pakistan Richard Olson visited the University of Agriculture Faisalabad
US Ambassador Richard Olson visited the University of Agriculture Faisalabad and called on UAF Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan at his chamber. He also visited the Centre of Agricultural Biochemistry and Biotechnology (CABB), Office of Centre for Advanced Studies in Food Security and Agriculture, Horticulture Sciences Citrus Nursery and Rosa Lab. He was flanked by US Counsel General in Lahore Nina Maria, officials of USAID and others.
The Ambassador said that the United States was providing resources to Pakistan agricultural sector. The steps are aimed at boosting up the productivity. He said that the US was providing scholarships to agricultural scientists to pursue their higher education there. The Vice Chancellor gave a briefing to the Ambassador about the UAF and the agriculture sector in Pak. Dr Iqrar Ahmad said that the UAF was running many US funded projects for the development of the sector to ensure the food security in the region. He linked the poverty alleviation to the uplift of agriculture sector as the majority of country population was living in rural areas. He said that 150 PhDs and masters degree trained through Washington States University Pullman until 1970 that helped the Institution to increase capacity building and ensure the quality education. He added that the UAF had emerged among the top 100 institutions of the globe in the subject of Agriculture Sciences. He said that with the funding of US, as many as four Endowments are functioning in Pakistan to train the manpower, conduct researches, outreach, product commercialization and other areas of the development. The UAF had got the share of Rs 650 million under the Endowment.
Talking about citrus, he said the disease citrus greening is decreasing around 30 percent of the fruit yield in Pakistan becoming responsible for sudden deaths of orchards. It is also an emerging threat to US citrus production. The UAF entomologists have discovered a natural enemy of the greening virus to overcome its outbreak. He said that the same is being taken by US counterparts of California to avert the losses in the production.