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Two Day International Workshop on 4R Nutrient Stewardship for Food, Economic and Environmental Security

Islamabad (May 07)……………Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations  in partnership with Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFS&R), Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) and U.S. Department for Agriculture (USDA) convened a two-day International Workshop on “4R Nutrient Stewardship for Food, Economic and Environmental Security” at a local hotel, in Islamabad). The workshop was a part of an ongoing effort by USDA and FAO for soil fertility management and promoting sustainable agricultural intensification in Pakistan.

The objectives of the workshop were to showcase the significance of 4R nutrient stewardship for sustainable fertilizer management for food and environment security, identify the knowns, known unknowns and unknowns of fertilizer recommendation system in Pakistan, and propose a nutrient management collaborative framework at national level. The workshop provided an added opportunity to review existing initiatives, share information and learn from the experiences.

While addressing on the occasion as Chief Guest, the Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Mr. Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan appreciated the efforts of FAO and expressed his interest to replicate the activities in rest of the provinces of Pakistan (KPK and Balochistan). He emphasized to develop a nutrients stewardship frameworks and manual on 4R nutrient stewardship for the farming community of Pakistan. He suggested using public-private partnership as a mechanism for sustainable agricultural intensification in the country.

Chairman, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) Dr. Nadeem Amjadhighlighted that the imbalanced fertilizer use and high fertilizer prices are the major constraints to achieve good crop yield. He emphasized that 4R nutrient stewardship can help to decrease the cost of production and enhance nutrient use efficiency.

FAO Representative to Pakistan Mr. Patrick T. Evans highlighted various issues concerning Pakistan agriculture and mentioned that the population pressure in Pakistan requires great attention to sustain the available agricultural resources in Pakistan. He briefed that FAO is working on a baseline atlas of current soil fertility practices, disaggregated by farm size and cropping systems in Pakistan to understand required soil fertility management changes for sustainable agricultural intensification and to fill the yield gaps by balanced use of fertilizers.

FAO Soil / NRM Expert, Dr. Waqar Ahmadgave a detailed presentation on the project overview and objectives of the workshop. He highlighted the significance of the fertilizer use assessment at the farmer gate level, and the important role of public private sectors to enhance quality produce. 

President, International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), Dr. Terry Robertsemphasized the balanced nutrient inputs considering “4Rs” - Right fertilizer at the Right rate at the Right time in the Right place, should be promoted for sustainable food, economic and environmental security. Other speakers from national and international organizations highlighted the higher use of nitrogenous fertilizers, low use of potassic fertilizers / micronutrients, and low efficiency of phosphatic fertilizers in Pakistan. Collaborative efforts are required to address such issues in the best interest of the farming community.

Approximately 70 participants from national & international organizations attended the workshop. The key issues like economic returns with appropriate fertilizer use and environmental issues arising with the burning of crop residues were discussed in greater detail. 

( Sardar Ghulam Mustafa )                                      Edited by:  Muhammad FiazJoyia
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