Pakistan: A state-of-the-art Centre of Remote Sensing for Agro Informatics will be set up at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) in a bid to train provincial government officials conducting crop survey in farmlands and ensure that its benefits reach farmers as well.
The announcement was made during a meeting between Jan Dempewolf, Assistant Research Professor, Department of Geographical Science, University of Maryland, USA and UAF Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad at the university.
They discussed the implementation of the remote sensing programme, a project of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will fund the proposed centre.
Iqrar Ahmad said the country had experienced devastating floods in the last three years, which invited researchers to assess climatic effects and make proper forecasts by using remote sensing and other techniques. The centre, he said, would help the researchers and policy organs of the government to make appropriate prior arrangements to cope with such calamities.
He stressed that UAF faculty had enormous potential to run the centre as numerous faculty members had foreign exposure and expertise in remote sensing and climate change.
Ahmad revealed that the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research would also set up a policy centre at UAF.
Professor Dr Ashfaq Ahmad Chatha, Director External Linkages, who was present in the meeting, said UAF researchers were busy in various research projects relating to remote sensing, climate change and GIS, but with limited infrastructure and support facilities. He underlined the need for creating a window for the researches to work closely with each other.