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We strongly need to invest and modernization in agriculture: Dr. Sania Nishtar

Sustainability in agriculture system is important: Dr. Azeem Khan Chairman PARC

(Islamabad August 11, 2021): Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM was a chief guest at the international consultation workshop on “Crop mapping and zoning for strengthening sustainable agricultural practices, policy support and livelihood improvement through Earth observation applications in Pakistan”. The workshop was organized by Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) in collaboration with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Islamabad. The workshop aimed to engage key stakeholders and share the latest tools and innovations in Earth Observation (EO), and to identify needs, opportunities and complementarities to promote the sue of EO tools and technologies in agricultural planning and policy formulation. Participants from national, provincial and non-governmental organizations working in the areas of agriculture, climate change, food security, water and irrigation participated in the workshop.

Other eminent speakers who joined the opening session were Pema Gyamtsho, Director General, ICIMOD, Nepal; Bashir Ahmed, Director, Climate, Energy and Water Research Institute (CEWRI), NARC, Faisal Qamar, Group Lead Food Security, ICIMOD and Muhammad Ismail, Country Representative, Pakistan Office, ICIMOD.

Addressing the opening session, Dr. Sania stated, “Agricultural is and will remain the absolute priority of our government. In Pakistan with one-quarter poor population, around 65% population is directly or indirectly indulged in agricultural activities. That is why, agriculture is a whole of the government multisectoral agenda, as embedded in the Ehsaas framework.”She further added, “Being an agrarian economy, we strongly need to invest in research, modernization of hardware and software in agriculture, and focus on sustainability of the agri- sector.” Further, she congratulated ICIMOD and PARC for bringing in regional and global knowledge and tools for the growth agriculture in Pakistan.“On behalf of the government of Pakistan, she assured full support to collaborative initiatives and agriculture experts working around improving agri-production systems in Pakistan.

Chairman PARC, Dr. Muhammad Azeem highlighted importance of updation of Agro-ecological zone of Pakistan and stated to address the sustainability issue in the agriculture system it is important to adopt to the unique zone requirements and other cropping system according to water availability. He also added that with the recent advancements in Earth observation (EO) technologies, PARC, ICIMOD, NASA-SERUIR and George Mason University are collaborating on the use of freely available remote sensing data and Information Technology tools to provide efficient means of regular monitoring of cropping patterns as well as historic changes to contribute to the policy.

Pema Gyamtsho emphasized that clear understanding of cropping patterns and historic changes along with socioeconomic and ecological impacts of agricultural land use change in the region is essential to prepare well-informed policies.

Dr. Bashir Ahmed Director (CEWRI) NARC shared that under the agri-transformation plan, PARC had initiated the updating of Agro Ecological Zones and development of crop zones of Pakistan to provide evidence-based knowledge for adopting sustainable agriculture practices based on modern technologies like satellite remote sensing and geographic information system.

(Ghulam Shabbir Mirza)
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