RAWALPINDI   -   A gender inclusive training programme was organized here on Monday in Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) on “Opportunities in the Climate Change for Sustainable and Drought Resistant Agriculture.”  Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul was chief guest on the occasion while the programme was also attended by PMAS-AAUR Vice Chancellor (VC) Prof. Dr. Qamar uz Zaman. Addressing the participants, the minister said that Pakistan was facing worst effects due to the climate change and falls in the top ten countries of the world.  The climate change was not only increasing temperature, but also affecting the ecosystem which was resulting in insecurity of food, she said.  “We prioritize the issue which is not linked to the individuals or a small group, but climate change is an issue which is affecting the whole population, “she added. She further said that being an agricultural country, 70 percent population of Pakistan depends upon agriculture and it was an alarming situation that due to climate change and drought, the country was facing shortage of food. 

She informed the participants that climate change was one of the top priority agenda of the government and one billion tree plantation would be completed this year. 

She also hinted on the rules and regulations being developed by the government for water pumping which were first of its kind in Pakistan. 

Commenting on the industry linkage with the academia, she said that this part was being neglected in Pakistan which should be strengthened to meet the future challenges. 

The minister appreciated efforts of the VC and his team and said that her ministry seeks the technical assistance from the technical experts & university’s scholars.

Prof. Dr. Qamar uz Zaman said that Arid University is working hard to make progress not only in academics, but in the field also to strengthen the link between academia, industry and growers. 

He said that many teams of Arid Agriculture University consisting of agri-scientists, researchers and students were formulated to visit villages of different tehisls of Pothohar to facilitate and properly guide the farmers. 

While appreciating the government’s clean and green Pakistan initiative, he said that over 20,000 plants were distributed among the citizens free of cost while a large number of saplings were also planted at Koont farm. 

He said, Arid university would stand side by side with the government in its initiatives towards agriculture.