Rawalpindi - A two-day national conference on Pakistani agriculture at cross road of water scarcity and climate change commenced at Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) here on Thursday.

Dr Yousuf Zafar, Chairman Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC), was the chief guest at the inaugural session of the conference while Prof Dr Sarwat N Mirza, Vice Chancellor PMAS-AAUR was the guest of honor. 

The conference was organized by the Department of Agronomy in collaboration with Pakistan Society of Agronomy, with an aim to highlight the threat of water scarcity and food security due to climate change and its consequences on the country.

Dr Yusuf Zafar stressed the need of smarter and sustainable ways to utilize water resources and adaptation strategies to ensure water and food security in our country.  He said “Pakistan is at the 7th number on the global scale as it has been vulnerably affected by climate change, it needs management and mobilization of water and production resources to counterfeit food insecurities and water scarcity.” He applauded the steps taken by the current government for the exposure of agriculture and for having clear plans to boost the sector as well as the economy of Pakistan.

He welcomed policy makers, researchers, progressive farmers, extension workers, agronomists and all other stakeholders to share valuable suggestions and indigenize the knowledge at all levels to take lead in the world. Prof Dr Sarwat N Mirza said Pakistan like the countries of the world, is facing a great challenge to be on the forefront of bearing negative impacts of Climate Change phenomenon due to very high vulnerability in the wake of its geographical and fragile environmental conditions also facing acute shortage and scarcity of its water resources as the current per capita water availability.

Talking on the facts, he said, “Pakistan is 800 cubic meters as against water scarcity threshold of 1000 cubic meter per capita water availability”. As a result country will run out of water by 2025, he added. He hoped that the conference would result in a shared vision to tackle climate change threats and water scarcity and serve as a platform for networking and synergies of stakeholders to devise policies and adaptation measures for overall betterment of agriculture sector in the country.   Prof Dr Fayyaz ul Hassan, Chairman Department of Agronomy presented a welcome speech while Dr Muhammad Anjum Ali, Member Crop Sciences PARC discussed the past and present scenarios of agriculture in Pakistan and guided on the future perspectives.

The conference was also attended by Dr M Ashraf Director General (R&C) PCRWR, Dr M Aslam Commissioner Ministry of food Security and Research, Dr Abid Mahmood Director General Agri. Research, Dr Muhammad Saeed Director Agriculture APO, M Rafiq Akhter Director Agriculture Information Government of Punjab, deans, directors, chairmen of departments and a large number of students.