The two-day Distinguished, Innovation, Collaboration and Entrepreneurship (DICE) Innovation Event 2019 was successfully organized by the MNS University of Agriculture, Multan with joint collaboration of the varsity and DICE America. Hundreds of students from 34 universities of Pakistan participated and over 170 business models were presented in the event. The idea behind the event was to motivate academia, industry, government, entrepreneurs and expatriates to join a common platform to showcase innovations and technologies, share knowledge and further collaborate with each other for the rapid development of innovative products, necessary for the economic development of the country. The main objectives of the competitions were to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country and make it part of Nation’s DNA, and to create a positive and favorable image of Pakistan’s agriculture and food based industry in the eyes of international community.
Provincial Energy Minister Dr. Akhtar Malik, and Provincial Minister of Punjab for Management and Professional Development Syed Hussain Jahania Gardezi inaugurated the event. Members of Provincial Assembly Mr. Wasif Mazhar Raan, Mr. Saleem Akhter Labar, Mr. Qasim Abbas Langah, Ms. Sabeen Gul, Officials from DICE USA Mr. Khawar Qureshi and Dr. Khurshed Ahmed, Vice chancellor Karachi University Dr. Wajihuddin and famous urdu writer and poetess Ms. Haseena Moen were also present at this occasion. Presiding over the session, the Vice Chancellor MNS-UAM Prof. Dr. Asif Ali said that the objective of organizing this event was to promote entrepreneurship among the students. The competition is being held among the 170 business models under four categories including Engineering and ICT, Animal Husbandry DVM, Agriculture and Human Nutrition, Food Sciences and Dietetics, which showed the diversity of ideas in the minds of young students, he added.
In the event, competition of pulses’ dishes under the auspices of ACIAR funded pulses project (Increasing productivity and profitability of pulse production in cereal based cropping systems in Pakistan) was also held. The aim of pulses dishes competition was to highlight the importance of pulses, their value added products and their dietary benefits for a healthy lifestyle. Eating pulses is better than eating junk food because pulses are free of chemicals, the Vice Chancellor remarked. There were two categories of pulses’ dishes including professional and non-professional. Under the professional competition category, first position was bagged by Ramada hotel, second position by Awari Express and COTHM; while, the third position was scored by China Town Restaurant. In the non-professional competition, University of Sargodha team got first position, MNS-UAM team scored second position and Rise College for girls’ team stood third. Cash prizes of 15,000 rupees were given to first position holders, 10,000 rupees to second position holders and 5000 rupees to third position holders both in professional and non-professional categories. Volka Foods Chairman, Chauhdry Zulfiqar Ali Anjum while addressing the students said that use of pulses in our daily diet is being diminished because we prefer to eat junk food that causes negative effect on health. He said that pulses are rich in iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, dietary fibre and good for lowering cholesterol. Moreover, pulses are also good for the digestive system and regulate the energy level in our body, he added.
Under the industrial expo, latest agricultural equipment and machinery were also displayed and the growers were apprised of using technological methods of cropping so that they would be able to increase their productivity with minimum resources and time. Over 30 stalls were set up in the industrial expo wherein the students displayed agricultural machinery. Women University Multan’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dr Uzma Qureshi said that such events should be organized on regular basis. She remarked that Pakistani students are second to none and they have come up with very unique and innovative ideas in the event. Such events help in showcasing the talent of young generation for the larger benefit of society.