ISLAMABAD (Hanif Ullah): Underlining the importance of further integrating mutual programmes among member countries, the Governing Board of SAARC Agriculture Center Wednesday agreed in principal to exchange new technologies and germ plasm to ensure food security in the region. The meeting of the Governing Board of SAARC Agriculture Center (SAC) was held here at the headquarters of Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), which was chaired by its Chairman, Gh. Rabani Haqiqatpal, Director Information Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock Afghanistan. Among others, the meeting was attended by Member Director, Fisheries, BARC, Bangladesh, Dr. Md Kabir Ikramul Haque, Program Director, ICS, Ministry of Agriculture Bhutan, Deputy Minister Fisheries and Agriculture, Maldives, Mohamed Shareef, Chief Communication, Ministry of Agriculture Nepal, IP Rijal, Director, HORDI, Sri Lanka, Dr. Memal Fonseka, Director SAC, Dhaka, SM Bokthiar and Senior Program Specialist (NRM), SAC Dhaka, Dr. Tayan Raj Gurung and Chairman PARC, Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad.
�We need joint programmes and being the member of SAARC we should experiment each others
� technologies and research findings in other ecologies to help develop food secure region,
� Haqiqatpal remarked. He highlighted the importance of integrating various programmes of the member countries and a mechanism to solve problems, adding that this exercise was directly related to the food security of the region. He was of the view that if any country introduces some new technology or develops some new germ plasm, it must be experimented in other countries for the mutual benefit of all the countries. The board observed that the SAARC countries have great potential to cooperate with each other for the development of agriculture sector, however there is need to cooperate and share research and technology with the member countries to help them develop their agriculture on modern lines. The SAC, Governing Board, on the occasion praised Pakistan for developing state-of-the-art National Agricultural Research Center (NARC), which they said was not only contributing for the agricultural development of Pakistan but could play an important role in regional agriculture development. The Governing Board showed concern over the information related to shifting of NARC, as proposed by the Capital Development Authority and observed that the center was apex agriculture center and has been contributing to agriculture development. On the request of member from Nepal, the board recommended that the issue of holding two meetings of the board would be forwarded to SAARC secretariat for approval of financial assistance. Later, in a separate meeting with the members of PARC, the board members were briefed about various technologies, crop lines and germ plasm developed by the council since its establishment. Chairman PARC, Dr. Iftikhar Ahmed on the occasion informed the SAC members about the performance of scientists in controlling the wheat rust and the new innovations in the field of livestock and agriculture. PARC, Member Plant Sciences, Dr. Shahid Masood and Member Animal Sciences briefed the SAC board about the development of crops and livestock in the country. Among others, PARC members, Dr. Munir Ahmad, Dr. Umar Farooq and other top officials of the council were also present on the occasion. It is pertinent to mention here that the SAC Board was take for visit to various facilities of NARC, particularly to the Bio-Remediation plant