Water and electricity problems are not really the problems of Pakistani rulers: Shamsul Mulk
Water is key to food security. Major changes in policy and management, across the entire agricultural production chain, are needed to ensure best use of available water resources in meeting growing demands for food and other agricultural products.
Water, climate change and food security experts, academia and students expressed these views while addressing a seminar here on Thursday at Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi.
In connection with World Water Day, the seminar titled “Water for Sustainable Development: Impacts of Climate Change on Water & National Food Security” was jointly organised by the university, Oxfam, Indus Consortium and UN-HABITAT.
Shamsul Mulk, former chairman Wapda, while encouraging the students to pursue contemporary knowledge in the fields of science and technology and urging the faculty to impart education in the language students think in, said that Pakistan posses the largest water drain system in the world, and it was difficult to understand how a country with such resources is poor.
“Pakistan’s water and electricity problems are not really the problems of Pakistani rulers; so they never make concrete projects for the country. Students and civil society will have to play a crucial role in creating a larger consensus, as larger water reservoirs will benefit every Pakistani,” Kalabagh dam’s most vociferous supporter added.
Dr. Rai Niaz Ahmad, Vice Chancellor of PMAS-AAUR, said that a conventional farmer gets 5-6 tonnes yield of vegetable from per acre of land while a progressive farmer can yield 12-15 tonnes through tunnel farming. But we are yielding 300 tonnes per acre at our Rawat farms through hydroponic system.
“Arid university has become a role model for federal and provincial governments’ institutions in the field of rain water harvesting system. Many institutions are seeking our help in establishing a facility like we have in Rawat. Pakistan spent Rs. 10 billion last year for importing tomatoes from India. Give me Rs. 2 billion and I will secure your tomato supplies for ten years to the extent that you may also export it to India,” said Dr. Niaz amid thumping round of applause.
Javeria Afzal, Advisor (Livelihood & Adaptation) of Oxfam Novib, said that we need to plan for coping with disasters. Global phenomenon of climate change is also affecting many developed countries but they have resources and technology to significantly reduce the loses. But developing countries like Pakistan are being affected the most despite the fact that Pakistan is at the bottom in emitting greenhouse gases.
“In the face of predictions of more extreme weather, Pakistan’s federal and provincial governments and civil society organizations are responsible to protect citizens by following through on their pledges and scaling up current programs that help ensure resilience to climate-related risks,” Javeria emphasised.