Researchers suggest ways to overcome food insecurity despite water scarcity While speaking at an international conference, researchers and agronomists called for introducing agrarian reforms in Pakistan to get good yields by using water in low quantities in view of water scarcity in the country.

The first two-day International Conference on ‘Performance of Green Revolution Technology and Agriculture Development in South Asia’, organised by the Pakistan Study Centre in collaboration with the Sindh Higher Education Commission and Sindh Agricultural University, Tandojam, began at the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Convention Centre of University of Sindh, Jamshoro, on Thursday.

The speakers on the occasion not just suggested remedies in this regard but also urged the government to deploy professional field assistants to agricultural lands, ensure transparent distribution of water, facilitate proper levelling of fields, ensure proper soil testing and provide assistance to growers to select suitable seeds in order to overcome food insecurity in the country.

Vice Chancellor of Sindh University (SU) Prof Dr Muhammad Siddique Kalhoro inaugurated the conference at which well-known academics from different institutions, including Mehran University of Engineering and technology’s VC Prof Dr Taha Hussain Ali, Shaheed Allah Bakhsh Soomro University of Art, Design and Heritage’s VC Prof Dr Bhai Khan Sher, Sindh Madressa-tul-Islam University’s VC Dr Mujeeb Sehrai, Begum Nusrat Bhutto University for Women’s VC Prof Dr Shehzad Naseem, director of SU’s Pakistan Study Centre Prof Dr Shuja Ahmed Mahesar, professor at School of Alvito, Portugal, Dr Carolina Quiumento Velloso, associate professor at department of Defence and Strategic Studies, Quaid-e-Azam University, Dr Shabana Fayyaz, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Sindh University’s Thatta Campus Prof Dr Rafique Ahmed Memon and assistant professor at the SU’s department of anthropology Dr Abdul Razzaq Channa were in attendance.

Deans of various faculties, directors of institutes/centres, chairpersons of different departments, faculty members and a large number of scholars and students also attended the inaugural ceremony of the conference. Speaking on the occasion, SU’s Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Kalhoro said the progress made in China’s agriculture sector was before Pakistanis; therefore, Pakistan can learn a lot from China to improve its agriculture.

“We have an acute water shortage, which affects out agriculture badly. We need to improve the water distribution system and levelling of agriculture lands for the best yields of various crops,” he said. “We can get higher yields with less water,” he said and added that agriculture was the livelihood of the people of rural areas of Sindh. Therefore, the recommendations of the two-day conference would be conveyed to the farmers and general public through various channels.

Dr Kalhoro said that in view of water scarcity in the country, especially in Sindh, the water distribution and utilisation system needs to be made transparent while the levelling of agricultural lands should also be improved. “This is the only way to hose down the crops properly in order to get good yields in return,” the vice chancellor said.

He was of the opinion that through the use of solar energy the agriculture sector had been given a boost. By arranging solar panels, he said, water can easily be delivered to agricultural lands at a reasonable cost.

It is important to use good quality seeds to get the best yields from agricultural lands for which the role of economists, business community and agronomists was pivotal, he said. He said the farmers, cultivators and small landowners should be given good price for their produce so that they could grow crops with more interest. “Such revolutionary steps and subsidy to the farmers and growers can solve the problem of food shortage in Pakistan,” Dr Kalhoro added. He said the deployment of good field officers by the government could prove beneficial for the development of the sector at a time when an acute water scarcity is persisting in Pakistan.

He said it’s a pity that there is no precedence for soil testing before cultivation of crops in the country, adding that inorganic fertilisers were not being used properly, which problem was damaging land in Pakistan. “The government should take notice of this and programmes on the issue should be run on TV channels to create awareness among the growers to avoid misuse of inorganic fertilisers in their agriculture lands.” Vice Chancellor of Sindh Madressa-tul-Islam University Dr Sehrai said that agriculture was an important sector which needed to be addressed in a professional way. The provincial and federal governments should pay special attention to the agriculture sector so that the national economy could be improved.

Vice Chancellor of the Shaheed Allah Bakhsh Soomro University of Art, Design and Heritage Dr Sher praised the holding of an international conference on an important topic in Sindh. Vice Chancellor of the Begum Nusrat Bhutto University for Women Dr Naseem said that Pakistan was an agricultural country and the academia will have to think about why there was food shortage in it.

Earlier, Dr Mahesar of the Pakistan Study Centre welcomed the guests and explained how they had won the right to hold the conference after tough competition organised by the Sindh Higher Education Commission.The ceremony was also addressed by Prof Dr Carolina Quiumento Velloso of Portugal and Dr Shabana Fayyaz.

Source: This news is originally published by brecorder

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