The Nation published an amazing news item in its issue of November 17 that Pakistani scientists are working in the field of Biosaline Agriculture to grow wheat, maize, rice and other crops by using sea water. This was disclosed by Prof. Dr. Attaur Rahman, President Pakistan Academy of Sciences, while delivering a lecture at the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences University of Karachi. During my service in the Pakistan Army, apart from other parts of the country, I also had a chance to serve in the provinces of Sind and Baluchistan where I found vast stretches of desert spread over hundreds of miles. It was all barren due to non-availability of fresh water, but so fertile in nature that where ever springs existed, the stretches of land were highly green, producing vegetables and fruits.
Since sea water touches borders of the two provinces, I asked one of the experts ‘could not we adopt some ways and means to turn the sea water fresh so as to make our deserts cultivable?’ The answer was that this could only be done by installing desalination plants, whose cost is so high, that Pakistan cannot possibly afford them. The research of our scientists in the field of ‘Biosaline Agriculture’ is highly encouraging. While its success will be extremely delightful, making the barren lands of Sind and Baluchistan cultivable it will also turn the two provinces rich in agriculture. In addition Pakistan will achieve a unique distinction in the field of agricultural science with a rise in its image in the whole world. I request the Government of Pakistan to render this project all the financial support.
RAFI NASIM,
Lahore, November 18.