Dr Sania Nishtar calls for bolstering up agri sector
LAHORE: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Senator Dr Sania Nishtar stressed the need for making more investments in research, modernization of hardware and software in agriculture in order to ensure more sustainability of the agriculture sector.
“Being an agrarian economy, we need to invest in research, modernisation of hardware and software in agriculture, and focus on sustainability of the agricultural sector,” she said on Thursday this after inaugurating an international consultation workshop titled: “Crop mapping and zoning for strengthening sustainable agricultural practices, policy support and livelihood improvement through Earth observation applications in Pakistan.”
Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) organised the event in collaboration with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Islamabad.
“Agriculture is and will be on the top priority of our government. Around 65 per cent of the country is directly or indirectly associated with the agriculture sector. That’s why, agriculture is part of the government’s multi-sectoral agenda as embedded in the Ehsaas framework,” she said.
She congratulated ICIMOD and PARC for bringing in regional and global knowledge and tools for growth of agriculture in the country.
“On behalf of the government, I ensure full support to collaborative initiatives and agriculture experts working for improving agricultural production systems in the country,” she said.
PARC chairman Dr Muhammad Azeem underscored the importance of updation of agro-ecologocal zone of the country. He said that to address the sustainability issue in the agriculture system as it is mandatory to adopt unique zone requirements and other cropping system, according to water availability.
PARC director Bashir Ahmed said that under the agricultural transformation plan, PARC initiated the updating of agro-ecological zones and development of crop zones of the country to provide evidence-based knowledge for adopting sustainable agriculture practices, while focusing on modern technologies like satellite remote sensing and geographic information system.
With the recent advancements in Earth Observation (EO) technologies, PARC, ICIMOD, George Mason University and others are working on the use of freely-available remote sensing data and information technology tools to provide efficient means of regular monitoring of cropping patterns and historic changes to contribute to the policy.
Moreover, the workshop aimed to engage key stakeholders and share the latest tools and innovations in Earth Observation (EO), and to identify needs and opportunities to promote technologies in agricultural planning and policy formulation. Participants from national, provincial and non-governmental organisations working in areas of agriculture, climate change, food security, water and irrigation participated in the workshop.
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