Several development projects initiated to reduce poverty, improve socio-economic condition

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Conference on water, energy and food security

Staff Reporter

Rawalpindi—A three-day international conference on “Asia-Pacific Policy Dialogue on Water, Energy and Food Security for Poverty Alleviation in Dry land Regions” Friday concluded here at Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR). The conference was organized by PMAS-AAUR in collaboration with UNESCO with the support of Japan Funds-in-Trust and Malaysia Funds-in-Trust.
Parliamentary Secretary National Food Security and Resources Rajab Ali Khan Baloch was the chief guest at the concluding session while PMAS-AAUR Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Rai Niaz Ahmad, UNESCO Director Jakrta Dr. Shahbaz Khan and UNESCO Director Pakistan Vibeke Jensen, faculty members and students were present on the occasion.
Rajab Ali Khan addressing the participants said, the government has initiated several development projects in the country to reduce poverty and improve socio-economic condition of farming community.
He said, keeping in view future needs of the country, the government prioritized resolution of energy, water and food security issues. Highlighting the importance of water availability, he said, development of water reservoirs and dams in the country has been given priority by the government and next year construction work on Diamir Basha dam will be started.
He was of the view that academia has to play its due role by creating awareness among the new generation regarding importance of energy and water. He appreciated efforts of the organizers for arranging this conference and hoped that such event would also be held in future.
Prof. Dr. Rai Niaz Ahmad said, there is dire need to improve water use efficiency and energy inputs on sustainable basis to ensure food security.
Several recommendations were also presented by the participants for the government, research institutions, academia, industry as well as general public to achieve the objective of ensuring water, energy and food security for poverty alleviation and improve livelihood in dry land regions in Asia and the Pacific region.
The participants agreed that the implementation of Agenda 2030 cannot be achieved without a very strong political commitment, coordinated and synergetic planned actions from all major sectors; energy, food, water and disaster management. They said academia will have to play a major role in analyzing and recommending good practices and mechanisms put in place by local, national and regional champions to trigger long term sustainable development pathways.
They strongly agreed that “Agriculture and Food Security Policy” announced by the government in Vision 2025 must be implemented in letter and spirit and continuous education of farmers through mass media, short courses and exchange programmes among other South Asian states should be initiated.
They also suggested, efficient and effective use of irrigation water is critical for future of Pakistan and dryland regions and proper use of organic and inorganic fertilizers is also important for maintaining soil fertility to enhance agricultural productivity.
Agricultural Universities may focus their research on high value crops, livestock, fisheries, forest conservation, post-harvest handling, irrigation water management and management of soil problems which need to be given much higher priority.
Vision 2025 of the country is an exemplary illustration of a comprehensive multi-sectors integrative approach for national development planning in line with Agenda 2030, they added.