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Agricultural science, technology fellows from Pakistan visit CSU

August 17, 2013

Agricultural experts from Pakistan are participating in a nine-week, research-intensive program at Colorado State University this summer, through the United States Department of Agriculture.

Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology fellows from Pakistan are participating a research-intensive program at CSU this summer.The Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program is organized in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is part of a research effort of CSU Pakistan Technical Assistance for Watershed Rehabilitation and Irrigation Program. To help lead the program, the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service recently awarded a $250,000 grant to Ajay Jha, assistant professor and project leader from CSU’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.

Faculty members from CSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences, College of Engineering and Warner College of Natural Resources are serving as research mentors for the fellows during their stay.

The Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program promotes food security and economic growth by providing research and training opportunities for scientists and policymakers from developing and middle-income countries.

An ideal research environment

Assistant professor Ajay Jha discusses an irrigation system in Pakistan.CSU was identified as an ideal research environment for the fellows because of the similarity of the agro-climates in Colorado and Pakistan.  Fellows have chosen to focus on such areas as water productivity, different types of high-efficiency irrigation systems (HEIS), runoff management techniques, horticulture production under tunnels and field condition and the development of decision support systems for farm management and policy.

In addition, CSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences has longstanding expertise in soil; water conservation; field and horticultural crops, especially as part of broader economic-development efforts involving rural farming and ranching.

In addition to working with agricultural leaders in Pakistan, these visiting fellows will train rural Pakistan farmers to mentor other farmers so that vital information is transferred to local producers.

Promoting sustainable agriculture

Jha speaks with agricultural experts in Pakistan.“Our goal is to help promote sustainable agriculture by exchanging information about irrigation technologies, watershed development, soil and water conservation practices, high value horticulture crops and sustainable agriculture enterprise models that can help improve agricultural production system at the grassroots,” Jha said. “Helping rural farmers manage efficient use of water in agricultural settings is critical to food security and livelihood for the people of Pakistan.”

The Borlaug Fellows Program runs through Aug. 25 and includes developing action plans and research collaborations between institutes in Colorado and Pakistan.

CSU faculty who are participating as mentors in the program include: Luis Garcia, Ramchand Oad and Jose Chavez from Engineering; Allan Andales and Troy Bauder from Agricultural Sciences; John Stednick from Warner College of Natural Resources; Joel P. Schneekloth from CSU Extension.

Helping Pakistan's farm services

The research findings that fellows bring home will help the Pakistan farmer’s decision on how to use, when to use and the quantity of water to use for agricultural production. The fellows learning in Colorado will help Pakistan farm services, effective agricultural technology transfer and a sustainable way of exchanging information among all farm stakeholders. 

The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, a program partner and funding agency, works to link U.S. agriculture to other parts of the world to enhance export opportunities for the United States and to promote global food security.