Pakistan is the agricultural country ranks in top five in the production of major commodities. Pakistani population size is increasing day by day and according to a report titled Life in the City: Pakistan in Focus, released by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), it is estimated that population of Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad will exceed 15, 8, 3 million respectively. With the advancing technology and more facilities people prefer to move towards cities thats why the level of urbanization in Pakistan is highest in South Asian counties. It is reported that the share of the urban population increased from 17.4 per cent in 1951 to 32.5 percent in 1998. The estimation for 2005 shows the level of urbanization as 35 per cent.

Such high rate of population and urbanization brings a lot of issues like pollution, shortage of natural resources, global warming, scarcity of ground-level agricultural opportunities, unhealthy environment and day by day decreasing plantation which is actually a production factory of oxygen. To sort out all these urban related issues, we have a great solution and that is the rooftop farming. It is simply a cultivation of product for food on the roof of a building. It is most common in the urban areas of world and now there is a need that it should be in Pakistan now.

Each rooftop farm no matter how small it would be, contributes great in enhancing the lives of the people. It benefits for improving the social and environmental health, enhanced the food access and make the living places more desirable and beautiful.

The less space, more demand and high insect attack force people to use the high dose of pesticides. It is even reported that the wastewater with heavy metals are used to irrigate the leafy vegetable in Pakistan. The excessive use of pesticides and heavy metals accumulation make the green food unhealthy for the human consumption. But the rooftop products are generally grown using chemical-free or even organic practices, which ultimately avoids the exposure to chemical herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers. Moreover the rooftop farmers and gardeners are regularly exposed to fresh air, sunshine, exercise, all of which promote an overall healthy lifestyle.

Todays rate list displayed by the City Commissioner and Controller General prices division the price of vegetables range from 50-100 rs/kg. Vegetables and fruits prices are increasing to such high level that common man in Pakistan cant afford them. Such low income and increasing commodities prices made life difficult for them. So rooftop farming provides an opportunity to produce their own food and even sell it in market and earn their living. It ultimately develops the local food system in which people socially interacts with each and makes own well-informed food choices and ultimately reconnect with their food.

Environment goes on warming day by day with the installation of industries and increasing transport pressure. By the report of Nasa Earth Observatory in past decade (2001-2010) the land temperature increases more greatly than water temperature. It results in global warming the most alarming issue, raising of water level a danger to water near cities and the damaging of ozone layer. The roof top farming provides the excess green space in populated cities and helps to lower the temperature as the green plants are the best absorber of heat which improves the environment health and works as a solution to global warming like issues.

Urban plats are excellent for their ability to filter the small grains of dust and wind-borne sediments from the air. The leaves absorb most of the particulates so if build rooftop farm on active factories and other point source of pollution it filters the air. Moreover, the releasing of oxygen and water vapors makes environment healthy and cool. It helps to improve the health of people and the betterment of social setup as green space accessibility sort out the issues like anxiety, depression, anger and disappointment.

Rooftop farming covers all socio-economic gaps and provides fresh nutritious food to all urbanites from all walks of life. It is great source of fresh food especially for the people lack the produce markets in neighborhood and who cant afford food in expensive groceries. Rooftop agriculture provides the canvas for food access assistance and empowerment in cities across Pakistan. It helps in solving the environmental related issues in big cities of Pakistan. So the Rooftop and ground-level gardening should be in Pakistan and can start today.

The writer is a student of Plant Breeding and Genetics, UAF.

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