Argentine Ambassador to Pakistan Ivan Ivanissevich has said Pakistan faces a grave loss of around 40% of its crops due to the lack of storage and modern facilities.
He addressed the inaugural sessuion of International Conference titled: "Advances in Agriculture Resource Management" arranged by Institute of Soil and Environmental Sciences and Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture Faisalabad.
He said storage availability is critical for securing increased returns. Farmers all over the world are facing hard challenges; especially in developing countries. He said good management of resources requires higher investments and higher quality of work. So, it is important to maximize the returns.
He said in Argentina until the 1980s, they were facing the issue of lack of storage. Then, the farmers found the concept of silo-bags as a cheap way. It does not require sophisticated equipment. The silo-bags changed the frame of mind of our farmers. The absolute majority of them were precisely just farmers and no businessmen because they had to sell their crop as soon as it was harvested. The silo-bag changed. Farmers could hold to their crops, and wait until they could get a better price for their efforts.
He said that Pakistan counts among the countries that will suffer most from climate change. He said precision agriculture plays a major role in increasing yields. He called for creating good interfae ce mechanism between farmers and agricultural experimental stations, centers and universities. He opined that no-tillage and crop rotation are essential practices for sustainable agriculture to improve soil structure more fertility; water drainage; elimination of erosion, substantial reduction of water evaporation and reduced weed propagation.
He said management of sowing times, fertilization, herbicide/pesticide applications and harvest are crucial in order to obtain high yields.
He said that Argentine- Pakistan agricultural and educational ties would be further strengthened to get benefit from each other experiences. He said his country would assist Pakistan in agricultural advancements for transforming the sector with modern tools including precision approaches, zero tillage, and proper weed eradication etc.
Addressing on the occasion, UAF Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Iqrar Ahmad Khan said that the half of the country population will be living in urban areas by next 15 years in Pakistan. It will not only increase the burden on the urban areas but also pose a threat to the food security. The agriculture land is being converted other usages. He said that it was a matter of grave concern that industrial influx was being used for the irrigation water that is not fit. He said that soil was being overstretched by the continuous cropping in the field, resulting in low fertility. He also suggested pricing the water in order to avoid its wastages as we are wasting heavy water. Pakistan is placed in the countries which are water stressed countries.
Earlier, UAF former vice chancellor Dr. Riaz Hussain Qureshi said called for mapping out to a policy to have a ban on the conversion of fertile agricultural land into the other usage. He showed his concern that the country don’t have the proper data to analyze salinity trends either it is increasing or decreasing etc. He said that water was being wastage amid the situation when we are water scarce country. There is need to dig out the social aspects by creating the awareness about water. He said that climate changes were posing the threats for the agricultural productivity. He said that we have to adopt the modern trend like precision agriculture and modern trend of sowing and harvesting to compete with the rest of world and to reduce the cost of production.
Director Institute of Soil and Environmental Sciences Prof. Dr. Javed Akhter said that we have to increase the productivity for the ever increasing population as the agriculture land was diminishing. He said that salinity poses a major threat to agriculture. He said that sustainable crop production in the country is threatened by factors include soils degradation by excessive salts accumulation and soil deterioration by the use of saline brackish underground water. He said research is a continuous process to fight the challenges.