Feeding the world
Agriculture, including vegetables, grain and fruit crops, is the largest sector of Pakistan's economy. (UC Davis International Programs courtesy photo)
Dignitaries from around the world gathered at UC Davis recently to celebrate the launch of a $17 million project linking UC Davis and Pakistan's leading agricultural university to help solve Pakistan’s challenges in energy, water, and food security. UC Davis will receive $10 million of the funds.
The new U.S.-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Agriculture and Food Security, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, will make it possible for faculty members and graduate students from both countries to study and do research at each other's campuses. The project also is designed to update curriculum and technical resources at Pakistan's University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.
"UC Davis has been partnering with colleagues in Pakistan since 2009, sharing expertise in agriculture from crop production to post-harvest handling," said James Hill, associate dean emeritus of International Programs for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis.
"Establishment of this new center will allow us to build on those efforts, with a renewed emphasis on an exchange of faculty and graduate students," he said.
During its first year of funding, the center will plan several workshops to assist the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, with technology transfer and entrepreneurship to strengthen its connections to the private sector. UC Davis also will initiate programs in both research and curriculum development to improve graduate studies.
Hill noted that two other Pakistan-focused projects are already underway through the International Programs office, primarily in the area of horticultural crops and agricultural extension activities.
Agriculture is the largest sector of Pakistan's economy, providing jobs for half of that country's labor force. Some of the traditionally important crops in Pakistan are wheat, cotton, rice, sugar cane and maize. In recent years, crops like beans, peas, lentils, onions, potatoes, chilies and tomatoes have also increased in importance, along with fruit crops such as citrus and mangoes.
The newly funded center at UC Davis is the most recent of several partnerships of the U.S.-Pakistan Centers for Advanced Studies, a $127 million investment from USAID, linking universities in the two countries and using applied research to solve Pakistan's challenges in energy, water and food security.
The overall program includes construction of laboratories, research facilities and libraries in Pakistan. Other participating U.S. universities include the University of Utah and Arizona State University, focusing on water and energy, respectively.