Islamabad (October 29)………… Mr. Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research while addressing the participants of one day Workshop on Pakistan Agriculture Information System at here in local hotel, Islamabad said it is very encouraging that FAO and USDA is working with Pakistan’s specialists to bring some of the latest technologies into the agriculture sector.
Mr. Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan said the introduction of geo-spatial crop forecasting system in Pakistan is an example of the skills and knowledge of our country needs to strengthen our role in the world’s agricultural markets and in ensuring the food security of our own people. Mr. Bosan said with the use of this system, our government and farmers will also have access to accurate, timely and informative reports both at the provincial and federal level. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and FAO presented a new geo-spatial system for forecasting crop yields in Pakistan. The new system will increase the accuracy and decrease the costs of data collection on crop yields each year. Crop yield forecasting is essential for the Government to plan the country’s export targets and ensure food security, especially for the two major crops wheat and rice, said FAO Representative-Pakistan Mr. Patrick T. Evans.
Pakistan is a major player in the global commodities market. A poor year in production of wheat or rice in Pakistan cn have an impact on global food prices and lead to increased spending both worldwide and in Pakistan, thus reducing food security in the country. If the Government knows that the yield of wheat or rice is going to be low, it can arrange measures to prevent food shortages. Similarly, if the yield of cotton is expected to be low, the country can either import cotton to keep our factories running or adjust export targets and the plants for that year’s budget spending accordingly. The new system was procured and installed by FAO with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, at SUPARCO in Islamabad, the Crop Reporting Services of Punjab and Sindh, the University of Agriculture Faisalabad and the Sindh Agriculture University Tando Jam. Work was done under the USDA-funded FAO “Pakistan Agriculture Information Systems” project which works to improve the quality of agricultural statistics in Pakistan using geospatial information.
With U.S. funding, FAO provided the software and hardware for the crops monitoring system and trains staff at SUPARCO, as well as at the Crop Reporting Services of Punjab and Sindh to support the adoption of satellite imagery data and for more accurate forecasting of crop yields.
On this occasion, Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad, Chairman PARC, Dr. Nadeem Amjad, Member (NRD), Mr. David William, Agriculture Counselor US Embassy-Pakistan, Dr. Otto Gonzalez USDA, Mr. Imran Iqbal from SUPARCO and other speakers also addressed the participants and highlighted various aspects of this system. In addition to the officials of Federal Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR), PARC, FAO and U.S. Embassy, the workshop included representatives of the governments of all provinces and regions of Pakistan, as well as SUPARCO, Crop Research Services, academia, farmers and the media. Specialists from FAO (HQs) Rome as well as the University of Maryland also attended the event.
(Sardar Ghulam Mustafa)
Director (PR&P) PARC