“My ultimate dream is to sow seeds

in the desert. To revegetate the deserts

is to sow seed in people’s hearts.”

–Masanobu Fukuoka,

The Road Back to Nature, 1984

Pakistan is home to the world’s most beautiful landscapes, the flora and fauna; and the four changing seasons. Its arable land produces abundant crops round the year including cotton, wheat, maize, fruit crops and rice, some of which are a staple food in the diet of the Pakistanis. However, what stands out most in this agricultural country is that it developed the world’s largest irrigation system. The system can be dated back to the Indus Valley Civilization, in around 4500 BCE, where it started off with small inundation canals and artificial reservoirs until after decades, the British took over the subcontinent and introduced more canals, dams and a proper irrigation system. After partition, Pakistan started the Indus Basin Project which was the consequence of the Indus Waters Treaty, signed between India and Pakistan in 1960. The treaty granted the right of use of the Indus river water, the longest river of the country, to Pakistan, while India would gain the upstream control. The project entailed the construction of two main dams, the Mangla Dam built on the Jhelum River and the Tarbela Dam constructed on the Indus River. It also consisted of five barrages other subsidiary dams. Hence, the Indus Basin Irrigation System (IBIS) became the largest and contiguous irrigation system in the world. It provides water to 34.5 million acres of lands supported by 12 link canals. The average annual flow of Western Rivers of Indus Basin is approximately 142 million acre feet. Though the problems of water logging and salinity are hampering the efficiency of IBIS, it nevertheless has been a blessing for the country. It has enabled thousands of famers to cultivate land, to sell and export crops as Pakistan earns 70% of total export earnings from the agricultural produce.