Monday, September 27, 2010

Areas of Immediate Attention to save Pakistan

Dear all,

with reference to some on going activities on food security I have following things in mind which I think are the key factors to be addressed immediately to sustain agriculture & Pakistan.

1. Land degradation: Pakistan is loosing every day 80-100 acres of its fertile land to salinity & water logging, what would you like to do on this massive disaster? or you would make it mandatory/complusary to have a drainage system at each farm and then that water goes to main drainage system into sea? or soil reclaimation by utilizing all other means like reforestation, chemical amendments, crop selection, change in irrigation system or zero till operations (in orchards sod culture with selective grasses) etc. Example: In California (USA), one Mexican scientist has developed a tomato variety which is said to be salt tolerant and he also mentioned the figure of land degradation in Pakistan.

2. Irrigation water shortage: (ofcourse this yr is an exception we have super floods)  Perhaps Pakistan is only country on the face of this earth which uses 100% flood irrigation to do farming, per capita water availability "dreadful figure". How you'll respond to that mega issue? from flood to drip irrigation system, just utilization of irrigation water, elimination of corruption from irrigation department, serious R&D to implement modern & efficient irrigation systems (according to crop needs at various critical stages of plant growth & development), crop zoning or drought tolerant cultivars through biotech etc.

3. Genetic Contamination: Our indigenous genetic pool has been systematically eroded how you would like to respond? nothing is left original, all we have been growing & demanding "Exotic" varieties.  (high yielding, better quality, high nutrient demanding & maximum returns for sure short terms). Do you have gene bank of indigenous genetical material protected, i know one is one NARC but it is not upto standards, one that I  saw in Belgium. (Where are our resource conservaionist, plant breeders & Biotech specialist?)

4. First, we have been the victim of Green Revolution then Biotechnology, both leads to monoculture farming, current studies shows that farm biodiversity is the ultimate & sustainable solution, how would you respond to that to implement this here in Pakistan.

5. Farm energy efficiency: with increase in fuel prices & virtually unavailble electricity farming has become very difficult what would be ur future strategy to resolve this issue? like inroduction of solar, wind, biogas etc. or going back to bullocks.

6. Human Capital Utilization: Mostly peoples that are associated directly or indirectly with agriculture are unskilled & uneducated, big multinational companies & corporate farming culture is missing, farming here is being done conventionally so no introduction of improved technologies in the farms, under such cases how we would better make use of those peoples in our farms so that they get better & reasonable life going. (How would u respond to such issues, no technical man power in the fields.

7. There is fierce competition in world agriculture markets especially in fruits & vegetables, i simply would quote mangoes as an example, we produced 17,00,000 tons & our export is merely 1,00,000 tons with worth of 42 million US dollars, lowest price/kg (0.39 $). Quality is our main issues nothing is wrong with  our varieties (Sindhri from Sindh & White Chaunsa & SB Chaunsa from Punjab) both  considered as premium quality mangoes but we never been able to capitalize on it. What a pity! Govt or other agencies spending so much money on other petty activities but not on mangoes to setup a modern packhouse fully equipped with all facilities. Or trying to establish a suitable/modern/feasible Mango Models (Organically grown & conentional grown mangoes). Both have  high demands in  international high end value markets.

8. Farmers mind set: (centuries old system would again take centuries to turn around), this is our case, they are not willing to change, they never earn with their efforts any land simply they inherit the land and this is going on. They are not giving back to land what they are getting. Not only agricultural land but all other resources are at risk. How would you respond to that?

9. R&D: 167 impact factor Research papers are being published in Europe & USA per million peoples, In India, 7 research papers/million peoples whereas, in Pakistan only 3/million. When & how this will be improved. In agriculture, every season  we are encountering so many new problems of insects, diseases, nutritional disorder/deficiencies on almost all crops. Are we prepared to cope such disasterous including changing climatic conditions?

There are so many things can be done to improve our agriculture & perserve our nature resources  but abovementioned are just the tip of iceberg.

Furthermore, I would like to suggest, u must watch following video documentaries on the subject, hope that every body in Pakistan will understand how important these topics.

1. Climate change - State of the science 2009


3. HOME (English with subtitles)

4. An Inconvenient Truth (2006) (DVD Rip)

5. Botany of desire


hadi bux laghari
Technical Manager
Asim Agriculture Farm Tando Allahyar Sindh-Pakistan
Tele: +92 22 3898222
Fax: +92 22 3898111
Cell: +92 300 8371442

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