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Speakers urged promoting soybean cultivation : University of Agriculture Faisalabad

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Speakers at a conference called for promoting soybean cultivation to curtail national soybean import worth $1200 million, whereas the University of Agriculture Faisalabad has announced the establishment of 1000 demonstration/ trial spots of high-yielding soybean at farmer fields this year compared to 170 demonstration farms last year in a bid to encourage the crop cultivation. They addressed the Soybean conference at the Center for Advanced Studies in Agriculture and Food Security, the University of Agriculture Faisalabad.

UAF Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said that China is the world’s largest importer of soybeans, whereas the US is the largest exporter. He added that Pakistan imports essential commodities worth $10 billion annually, half of which is edible oil import.  He added that cultivation of the soybean would also address the nutrition crisis. He said that India imposed the import duty to promote local soybean cultivation.

He said that soybeans are a major global commodity and contribute significantly to international trade; soybeans are an excellent source of protein and vegetable oil worldwide. He added that UAF established soybean farms across the country, and soybeans of different varieties can be cultivated in Pakistan. He said the industry should take the lead in its promotion and address the market issue.

He said that we have to curtail the misconception about GM crops prevailing in some segments of society. He added that the GM/non-GM varieties would help address the challenges of food insecurity. The law of the land permits the introduction of GM crops, including soybeans. There are unfair hurdles that need to be removed.

Pro-Vice Chancellor/Dean of Agriculture Prof Dr Muhammad Sarwar Khan said that UAF was taking all possible measures to promote soybean cultivation.

Director CAS Dr Sultan Habib Ullah said the university was taking the technologies to the farmer’s fields to strengthen the sector with scientific work. He said that tangible research work on agriculture that would help food security was being carried out.

Dr Zaheer Ahmed said the university was working on 5000 lines of soybeans. He noted that soybeans could be cultivated in different environments and soils of the world. However, genetic screening is required on demand. He stressed that soybeans can be cultivated in the different seasons in Pakistan. He said that in summer, the sowing should be carried in standing water. He added that a maximum yield of more than 50 mounds can be achieved. It can be grown all over Pakistan. He said that every year, ten farmers will be added at each demonstration site under the ongoing soybean campaign by UAF.

President Anjuman-E-Kashtkaran Punjab Rana Iftikhar Muhammad said that if the demands of soybeans are met at the local level, it will improve the performance of the poultry industry.

Pakistan Agriculture Research Council In-Charge Oil Seed Dr Mohammad Arshad emphasised joint efforts to tackle agricultural challenges by strengthening linkages between industry and research institutions.

Chairman Kissan Ittehad Council Shaukat said that food security should be ensured by developing agriculture on a scientific basis while solving farmers’ problems. Mumtaz Feed CEO Amir Mumtaz and Jahangir from APSEA, CEO Soybean Oak China Center, Dr Khalid Shouq and other notables spoke. The different organisations of businessmen, industrialists, and progressive farmers also participated.

The soybean valued-added food product exhibition under the supervision of Dr Ahmad Din was put on display and remained a centre for attraction for food lovers.  He said the demonstration at the farmers’ fields would prove a millstone to help the crop flourish nationally.

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