Our Staff Reporter
Published Date: Dec 6, 2019
Pakistan has moved from the seventh to the fifth most-vulnerable country to climate change, European Union Ambassador Androulla Kaminara said on Thursday.
Ambassador Kaminara was speaking at a session on ‘Achieving Food Security in Digitalised World’ organised by the Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) and the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).
She said that the EU uses Integrated Phase Food Security Classification (IPC) to determine the food insecurity in a country or region. According to the IPC Global Report 2018, there are around two million food insecure people in Pakistan, particularly in the Tharparkar, Umerkot and Sanghar districts of Sindh. “Pakistan is facing challenges in growth in agriculture due to climate change. The situation has deteriorated compared to last year,” she said.
PMAS-AAUR Vice Chancellor Dr Qamaruz Zaman said that digitisation can help inform farmers about markets and guide them on improved farming practices, issue early earnings to avoid any crises and enhance productivity.
He added that it was time to consider the profitability of farmers and not limit research only to their income.
SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Suleri said that under the Benazir Income Support Programme, the government was planning to issue mobile phones to 9m beneficiaries, which was an opportunity to engage women farmers through this new platform to disseminate market information and early warnings as well as messages on improved practices to avoid losses from swing to harvest to post-harvest.
The process of formally transferring new agricultural discoveries, improved practices and innovations to farmers aims to increase productivity, Dr Babar Shabaz from the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad said.
Dr Arnold Elepano from the University of Philippines recommended the development of a roadmap for smart farm development to increase a research agenda, pilot testing and information advocacy, adding that the government should provide an enabling environment to promote the use of digital technology to increase farm productivity.
Dr Allah Bakhsh, the dean of the Faculty of Agricultural Engineering and Technology at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad said it was a fact that adopting appropriate technology enables farmers to modernise their management practices to increase crop yields, reduce crop failure and ultimately increase farmers’ incomes.