Tuesday, 26 September 2017

RDF envisions "an equitable and eco friendly world"

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Training of Instructors at Honda Atlas

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Agricultural and environmental scientists along parliamentarian have expressed grave concern over food-security, land-degradation, melting glaciers, declining water resources, rising temperature, and change in wind, rain and weather patterns,  resulting floods, droughts amid climate change and conversion of agricultural lands to plazas, urged adaptation and mitigation measures.

This was expressed in a National Seminar “Impacts of Climate Change on agriculture and livestock (challenges and opportunities)” organized by Pakistan Agriculture and Research Council in collaboration of Research and Development Foundation (RDF) at Hafiz Halepoto Hall Arid Zone Research Institute (AZRI) Umerkot here on Sunday.

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Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah Chairman senate standing committee for National Food Security and Research (MNFS and R) Government of Pakistan presided the seminar, said that proactive approach can play pivotal role in socio-economic development. The agricultural institutions must work together with local growers for better results using folk wisdom. Adding results of research must be shared with the local farmers at gross root level otherwise it would be of no use. He further said that there is no any copyright law on breeding of seeds in Pakistan but he has been assured that assemblies will pass a law within two months. He further said that there is no any directory of progressive farmers in Sindh therefore hard to approach right grower. There is huge difference between Indian and Pakistani farmers, as Indian farmers have number of modern facilities and agriculture inputs are provided at low prices and Pakistani farmers have not such facilities. This practice has also declined yield along impacts of climate change, resulting food insecurity has increased.


Member National Assembly Nawab Muhammad Yousuf Talpur said that 70% parliamentarians have agricultural background but they never raised the issue of growers. He further said that trade with India is harmful for local growers, as due to low prices of agricultural inputs, India export it at low rates. Free and unconditional trade with India can facilitate the local growers. He further said the local growers of Punjab are going to protest against the trade with India and they should support it. He complained ZTBL chief regarding corruption in ADBP branches. He further suggested him to increase the loan amount from one million so a grower must be able to buy a tractor and other agricultural inputs.
 
Ashfaq Ahmed Soomro, head of program unit RDF said the climate change is a matter of great concern as it has affected arid zones because of less opportunities and high vulnerabilities. The climate change has shown its results like the changed pattern of rain falls witnessed last year , 1st rain spell was received in the end of july, and then the 2nd spell was received on 26 September 2013, 2nd spell destroyed the crops of cluster bean in Tharparker by savior infestation of Aphid and Jassid. The remaining crops were affected by humidity which caused spoilage of ripened crops of cluster bean. The people in thar have been searching for alternate livelihood sources but due to less technical expertise they have fewer opportunities in arid area and in other areas of Sindh. If government provides technical education to the people of arid area they will be able to find best alternate source of their livelihood.
The People in past were full of local and folk wisdom which still exists and is major opportunity to mitigate the effects of droughts like Food and fodder preservation, which was very helpful for small droughts in past decades currently increase in population, decrease in production and less rates of crops has enforced the people of Thar to sell out all the grain and preserve less or no any food. The Animals are base source of food security but due to less fodder opportunities animals are suffering from diseases and less milk production which has caused malnutrition in children and pregnant and lactating women. 


Dr. NadeemAmjad member Natural Resource Division PARC Islamabad gave detailed presentation about the adaptation to climate change for food security in Pakistan. He saidthe global climate is changed over the last century and it will continue to change and Pakistan has no exception for its impacts. Due to global changes food demands will rise to 60% to 70% by the year 2050, he further shown his concerns that emerging urbanization and schemes which have speedily converted agriculture lands into housing schemes resulting a big challenge of food security in Pakistan. He shared briefly how weather, wind and rain patterns have been changed.


Prof: Dr. Bakhshal Lashari Chairman RDF, said that climate change has not only left its impact on agriculture but livestock, health as well as economy have been badly affected. He compared the yield of ten years back and now-a-days, which showed 25 percent declination in yield. He pointed out certain series of disasters in different areas of Sindh like floods, droughts, famine because of climate change.


Abdul Majeed Nizamani Chairman Sindh  Abaadgar Board, said agriculture sector is facing double standard on the part of government , here in Pakistan more research and new technologies are needed to meet the requirements of agriculture and food insecurity he said. He further shown his concerns about the Pak-china nuclear power plant agreement, added that they do not need to implement such type of projects but they should enhance solar energy system in agriculture which will reduce the energy cost.


Dr. MubarikAhmed, Director General, SARC, speaking on postharvest safety concerns of protection of chilies in Pakistan, he said that Pakistani chilies have been rated as one of the best in the world, especially dandicut chilli of Kunri. There is still a great potential in terms of increasing the per hectare yield, minimizing the pre and post-harvest losses, improving the quality by minimizing the aflatoxin, contamination in addition to other problems and   developing supply chain for international marketing. Major problem in Pakistan for chili business is poor quality, less support by government and competition between Indian exporters. He further said that switching to good agriculture practices will enhance the quality of Chilies. He said Mirpurkhas region produces 80 percent of total chillies in the country.


Raja Ahsan-ul-Haq President ZTBL, spoke that his bank has been providing low cost funding, ZTBL has facilities for funding in Biogas and Solar Energy, they offer the support to the youth and women for doing agriculture business.


Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad Chairman, PARC presented the overall progress of PARC announced to open an information centre by PARC at AZRI, Umerkot. The Chairman PARC emphasized that they have a lot of folk wisdom through which they can reduce aflotoxin and pest attack, so the institutes should be in close coordination with local growers to understand the situation for effective response. He further said that PARC has recently approved two new projects at AZRI Umerkot i.e. Cultivation of toxic free vegetables and Chili production technology. He said that research is important for any development and growth to mitigate the impacts of climate change. He further said that cluster bean is major cash crop and grafted ber is the best fruit of desert on which AZRI team is doing research.


Mr. Mian Saleem representative of red chilli association Kunri said that this is the main region for growing exportable chilies and he further added that the SMEDA’s project was in pending due to less attention by government. He deplored that seven years back a chilli research laboratory was established near Kunri with costly equipments but it could not be made functional for a single day.


Earlier, Dr. Attaullah Khan director AZRI Umerkot welcomed the participants and dignitaries, in his address he said that continuous droughts, change in rain, weather and wind patterns has increased desertification in Thar region fertile land has turned barren; it is like a cancer for it. Which has invited food security; due to climate change temperature is rising day by day, which has on one hand affected human-being, livestock as well as agriculture production. Keeping in view of the situation, his department has been striving hard to introduce new verities to resist changing climate and give good yield. He said more funds are needed to cope with desertification and to have plantation in arid area of Umerkot. Media, academia, research institutes, progressive farmers, pesticide companies

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