Asian Development Bank Visits LUMS to Discuss High Tech Agriculture
Ms. Noriko Sato, Senior Natural Resources Specialist/Mission Leader, and her team from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) recently visited the Centre for Water Informatics and Technology (WIT) at LUMS to explore innovative opportunities for high-tech agriculture and establish a global High-Tech Knowledge Intensive Agricultural University Network.
The delegation was welcomed by Dr. Tariq Jadoon, Acting Vice Chancellor and Provost; Dr. Abubakr Muhammad, Executive Director, WIT; Professor Nauman Zaffar, Director, National Incubation Centre (NICL), as well as the University's faculty members.
Dr. Jadoon shared an overview about LUMS, as well as the diverse programme that the University offers. Mr. Zaffar added to this and talked about the various research and development activities carried out by the different centres at LUMS, as well as the entrepreneurial initiatives and startups at the NICL.
The world faces an urgent need for sustainable food production and agricultural innovation, especially with a growing global population. The delegation discussed the transition from traditional to knowledge-intensive agriculture; leveraging technology like smart sensors and data analytics. They also shared their aspiration to create a network of universities that promote agropreneurs, foster innovation, and strengthen academic-industry partnerships, bridging the gap between developed and developing countries in agricultural technology.
Ms. Sato elaborated on the Agritech University Network Programme and how ADB is interested in collaborating with universities that are involved in high-tech agriculture. She added that ADB intends to establish a forum of interested universities and wishes to exchange ideas and identify Pakistan’s high-tech agriculture needs for international collaboration and support.
During the meeting, Dr. Muhammad gave a presentation on Digital Agriculture and Water Governance which showcased the WIT's impactful work and underscored its dedication to driving positive change in Pakistan. He shared the primary themes at the core of the Centre's mission, including Climate Analytics, Agriculture 4.0, Water Risks and Governance, and Socio-Ecological Systems.
Dr. Khurram Bashir, Associate Professor, introduced the Department of Life Sciences at LUMS and discussed its interventions related to sustainable and climate smart agriculture. He provided provided valuable insights into plant health and the innovative use of ethanol treatment to enhance drought stress tolerance in crucial crop varieties.
Furthermore, Dr. Zaigham Shahzad, Associate Professor, talked about his research on identifying plant varieties, best suited for regenerative agricultural practices. The goal of his research is a holistic, sustainable approach to agriculture, enhancing food security and farmer’s well-being.
During the session, the group discussed projects in digital and sustainable agriculture by various research groups at LUMS were discussed alongside a roadmap for future linkages.
The ADB team was also given a tour of the LUMS facilities and laboratories, where they showed keen interest in the Agri-Tech being developed at WIT, specifically the digital agriculture sensors and the forest fire early warning system.