PMAS-AAUR 20th Convocation, 4442 Degrees Awarded

A total of 4,442 graduating students from Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi were awarded degrees and 90 received medals at the university's 20th convocation held on January 30, 2020.

The graduates included 33 students who received PhDs, 710 awarded MPhil and MS degrees, 1,469 awarded Masters degrees and 2,230 who received undergraduate degrees.

Gold medals were awarded 55 students for outstanding academic records, while 17 students received silver medals and 18 received bronze medals.

Dr Khalid Mahmood Khan, the secretary general of the Network of Academies of Sciences of Islamic Countries, was invited as the chief guest. Other participants included Vice Chancellor Dr Qamar Zaman, deans, directors, faculty members, graduates and their families.

Dr. Khalid Mahmood Khan, who is a former vice chancellor of the university, said that the agriculture sector is facing the daunting challenge of ensuring food security for Pakistan's ever growing population, which is projected to increase from 208 million today to more than 400m by 2050.

He said the agriculture and livestock sectors have to produce more food to feed the growing population in the face of shrinking land and water resources per capita available for agriculture as well as the looming impact of climate change on both sectors.

Agricultural scientists have a responsibility to come up with smart agriculture technologies and new climate-resilient farming systems, especially for the rain-fed areas of Pakistan, to enhance agricultural productivity, increase farm profitability and increase national food security, he said.

Dr Khan said there is an urgent need to come up with modern cost-effective food processing and postharvest management technologies to build efficient and reliable agri-food value chains to produce diverse value added agri-food products to substitute imports and increase exports.

He praised the pace of the university's multidimensional development and emphasized the need for applied research in the agriculture sector. He congratulated the graduates and distributed medals and degrees among them.

In his welcome address, Dr Qamar Zaman the university was making a special effort to expand its networking with national and international universities and research organizations of repute through the development and adoption of joint strategies to accelerate the pace of education, research, infrastructure and administrative development.

He said applied research has been strengthened to find solutions to pressing problems facing farmers, develop innovative technologies and generate predictable outcomes.

The Arid Agriculture University has also launched a digital agriculture initiative to promote automation in farming operations and postharvest handling processes, he said. He hoped that these initiatives would help increase agricultural productivity and farmers' profitability by ensuring efficient use of agricultural resources and minimizing postharvest losses.

He said the university is also promoting hydroponic agriculture and the application of biotechnology and genomic research to increase the productivity of quality plant and animal-based products.