Engineer Prof. Dr. Athar Mahboob, Vice Chancellor, the Islamia University of Bahawalpur, in an interview, said that the projects inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to Bahawalpur, will focus on the future of agriculture in Pakistan.

He said that the Islamia University Bahawalpur, which was established during the rule of the Bahawalpur state, has now become a fourth generation university.  The projects launched here are also improving the economic situation of the country, he said. Renowned Cotton Breeder of Pakistan Prof. Dr. Muhammad Iqbal Bandesha Dean Faculty of Agriculture is carrying forward the decades-long work of the Faculty of Agriculture. 

He said that the future of Pakistan depends on the revival of cotton. Pakistan’s textile industry cannot compete with the international market unless it gets high quality and low priced cotton, he added. Our agricultural scientists have made new inventions in cotton, VC added.

Islamia University Bahawalpur has developed varieties of cotton that are able to withstand water shortages and harsh weather conditions, he said. The university has developed varieties of cotton that are also resistant to sucking caterpillars and viruses, he added. Our agricultural scientist, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Iqbal Bandesha, has changed the shape of cotton leaves to produce varieties that have less spread and higher height, he said.

Striving to increase cotton production

This will increase the number of plants per acre and increase the yield, he added. He said that we are moving ahead by targeting the rehabilitation of cotton in Pakistan. The Vice Chancellor said that we have set up the National Cotton Breeding Institute which was inaugurated by the Prime Minister.

The aim is to form a whole team with Prof. Dr. Muhammad Iqbal Bandesha. It will include researchers people from different agricultural sectors, he said. He said that the Prime Minister Imran Khan was briefed at the National Research Center for Intercropping.

Dr. Ali Raza, one of our agricultural scientists, specialization in intercropping from China and successfully applied it in different areas in Pakistan.

“The Islamia University of Bahawalpur has set up the center in collaboration with Sichuan Agriculture University China. The center will introduce intercropping technology across the country in collaboration with the government of Pakistan so that the farmers may get maximum benefit from it. Agricultural land in Pakistan is declining rapidly so we have to take advantage of intercropping technology. Nature has blessed us with abundant solar energy which is very important for this technology. The Islamia University of Bahawalpur has focused on intercropping of soybeans and maize. Our goal is to reduce the import bill for edible oils, including soybeans used for poultry feed, using this technology. Fifteen years ago today, China’s edible oil bill exceeded 50 billion, then they became self-sufficient with intercropping technology. Today, Pakistan, which is spending 8 to 10 billion on imports, will spend same amount on the welfare of farmers,” he said

Prof. Dr. Athar Mahboob said that Islamia University Bahawalpur has set a new trend in which we are providing the best environment to our scientists so that they can use their professional skills to create inventions that will increase Pakistan’s income. We provide the faculty members with the resources they need to work. We believe that our researchers should have state-of-the-art laboratories and provide them M.Phil and Ph.D scholars so that they can create new researchers and also provide full skills, he said. Prof. Dr. Muhammad Iqbal Bandesha, Dean, Faculty of Agriculture the Islamia University of Bahawalpur said that our target is to increase Pakistan’s cotton production to 16 million bales and from this production we can earn up to Rs 9.0 billion. So the next step is we have to introduce 2 technologies for how to achieve this, he said. So the next step is to introduce 2 latest technologies to achieve this level. At second step we can increase the number of plants per acre from 14,000 to 35,000, he added.

Source Nation

By Arsalan Ahmad

Arsalan Ahmad is a Research Engineer working on 2-D Materials, graduated from the Institute of Advanced Materials, Bahaudin Zakariya University Multan, Pakistan.LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/arsalanahmad-materialsresearchengr/