Speakers here at a meeting stressed the need for adopting alternative irrigation systems and techniques to conserve every drop of water in the country.
“If water availabilities are threatened, the subsequent socio-economic structure, particularly in rural areas, will be at greater risk”, Dr Iftikhar Ahmad, Chairman Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), said while speaking at Annual Review and Planning Meeting of the Project “Watershed Rehabilitation and Irrigation Improvement” here on Thursday.
The Watershed Rehabilitation and Irrigation Improvement Project in Pakistan was sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and ICARDA launched the subject project in Pakistan in collaboration with PARC.
The objectives of the meeting was to review the progress of the project; to suggest any amendment in the approved work plan and to brainstorm how best to disseminate the technologies.
Dr Iftikhar Ahmad said that Pakistan primarily has an agro-based economy, wherein annually around 22 percent GDP contributions are derived from agriculture sector. He said the contributions of agriculture sector are mainly dependent on irrigation water availabilities besides other crop production inputs. “The failure of agricultural production will also hamper livelihoods in urban settings besides emergence of food security and safety issues”, he added.
Dr Iftikhar said that due to many reasons particularly improper water management at all levels, Pakistan is fast becoming a water-insufficient country. The challenges of soil and water conservation, their productivity enhancement, other natural resources management and livelihood opportunities generation in these remote areas are of vital importance.
He said “we have introduced a number of water-smart technologies over time such as drip, sprinkler, laser land leveling and bed plantation. However, the use of such technologies will remain suboptimal unless trained human resource is available in the country”.
Todd Drennen, representative from USDA, said that 90 percent of total water in Pakistan is used for agriculture. It is thus a responsibility of the agriculture sector to find out ways to protect the supply and better and more efficient ways to use it. “Under this project a process started to help farmers understand alternative irrigation systems and techniques. The success of this programme will ultimately be measured by the adoption of new irrigation technologies and water storage techniques”, he added.
The other speakers of the meeting said that we can achieve the goals and objectives of the project only by utilizing our every piece of land for agriculture and conserving every drop of water.
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