ICT in Precision Agriculture
National ICT R&D Fund in collaboration with University of Agriculture Faisalabad conducted a workshop on ICT in Precision Agriculture as a part of Fund’s efforts to support ICT centric R&D projects. The basic purpose of the workshop was to explore the research avenues in ICT based technologies and bring awareness among the academia and professional organizations about the potentials of ICT in precision agriculture.
Prof. Dr. Iqrar Ahmad Khan, (SI) the Vice Chancellor, appreciated National ICT R&D Fund for conducting the seminar. He said that UAF in collaboration with National ICT R&D Fund is already executing a fertilizer model to curtail the unnecessary use of fertilizers in 36 Districts of Punjab.
Dr. Ahsan Lateef, Department of Computer Science presented the role of UAVs in collecting the real time data collection of the fields, artificial pollination, irrigation control, fertigation, spray of pesticides and weeds eradication etc.
Mr. Waseem S. Hashmi Syed urged both industry and academia to come up with innovative ideas for getting possible funding from National ICT R&D Fund. He emphasized that indigenous solution of the intricate problems of the farming community are need of the hour. He explained the criteria and process of project proposal approval.
Mr. Afaq Ahmad Tiwana, (FAP) pointed out that we are continually heading towards a situation where by other nations have started offering us to run our loss making Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) like PIA, Railway, Pakistan Steel Mill so on. He said that if you cannot march with the time then keep aside. We are lacking in hybrid seeds, edible oil, value added products etc for which we have to think and act quickly. He told that 60% farming in Australia is connected with ICT while we have yet to start off. He proposed that instead of reinventing the wheel it is about time that we pick up the state of the art technologies and make these accessible to the farming community. He proposed that initially 25 farms should be picked up for implementing the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and impact of precision agriculture should be studied to replicate the model for a bigger lot.
Dr. Saqaib Ali, Department of Computer Science presented his ideas for data compilation that is scattered across different government departments and systematically use the same. He presented a Climate Smart Agri Model to be executed as a large scale project.
Dr. Syed Hammad Hussain Shah, Director Water Management Research Center, presented his views regarding water saving technologies and rain water harvesting techniques. He discussed different models working successfully in the modern world and the same can be modified for use in Pakistan.
Mr. Farjeel Javeed, Director IT, talked about the use of IT in agriculture and its allied disciplines. He described that social media can be used to disseminate the up to date information regarding crop maximization and improvement in the livestock sector.
Prof. Dr. Bashir Ahmad, Director CAS in his concluding remarks told that improving the condition of the Pakistani farmer is the real service to Pakistan. He emphasized that ICT is a window which can solve many problems of the farming community as in next 40 years there will be a need of 100% increase in every agri. commodity which is only be possible through modern approaches of crops cultivation. We have to revisit our cropping pattern in the perspective of climate change and changing behavior of pests and diseases. He urged that in the water deficit situation, we have to think low water requiring crops rather water loving crops and we have to prioritize the areas for specific crops. He tanked all the participants and collaborating partners, organizers and experts who travelled a long way to join this seminar and shared expertise with the participants.