Youths from farming families, hailing from Nara canal water sources, on the otherday committed to adapt efficient water management practices to curtail water shortages.
For this, they highlighted how to initiate preparation of land for smart agriculture, strengthening water management, crops productivity enhancement and grading of products to get proper rates.
They were speaking at a Certificate Distribution Ceremony after completing 15-day course titled “Foundation Course on Water Leadership for Youth” at a local hotel here, which attracted growers, representatives of irrigation institutions, researchers bodies and academia.
The event was organized by Research Development Foundation (RDF) that presided over by Commissioner Mirpurkhas Division Abdul Waheed Shaikh.
The young farmers told participants how the world has adapted modern practices to use small pieces of lands and getting more product, instead of performing traditionally. Sustainable and efficient use of irrigation water is only way out to get crops productivity and help in ending poverty in rural areas, they asked.
Abdul Waheed Shaikh Commissioner Mirpurkhas division urged upon farmers to utilise learning in agriculture and water management practices to face emerging challenges. He said “we have natural resources of water with river Indus and huge infrastructures on barrages, canals and watercourses. We have to adapt water system efficiently to improve productivity”.
He realised the fact that there is mismanagement and poor governance in water distribution system and definitely there is need to adapt participatory approach to assure proper water distribution, keeping in mind the need of water to crops. Because now the world is focusing on water conservation.
The commissioner said farmers are end users of water, who always face hardship to get their share as per need. Thus collaboration should be strengthened at all levels to increase water efficiency.
He suggested to promote smart agriculture and bring change of farmers behaviour through training courses for water users, most importantly young ones. The commissioner claimed to have established his own kitchen gardening at his residence with drip irrigation and tunnel farming, which is giving more yield. He said he has seen the people in the developing world using small pieces of lands and earn more income by growing flowers, fruits and vegetables. Therefore, farmers here in Sindh must adapt smart agriculture practices, value addition of fruit and vegetables.
He said farmers should be well calculated while initiating farming of seasonal crops. Farmers should be sensitized about utility of crops and agriculture entrepreneurship to earn enough.
For this, he said farmers should be motivated as agriculture entrepreneurship may be helpful. He said when grower will be wealthy and happy through productivity they will contribute to the national exchequer and rural development. Ghulam Mustafa Nangraj, Deputy Director Agriculture Extension Department, sharing his experiences said tunnel farming is the an inspiring method, for which we may have the most efficient use of water and improve productivity. He said the world nations have experienced and we can follow the same through use of water efficiently. He assured that since Agriculture Extension department has advisory services mechanism, farmers may come to them for the purpose.
Earlier, Ashfaq Ahmed Soomro Executive Director RDF in his introductory speech said currently youth bulge is 63 percent of total population in Pakistan, that has to take forward the development agenda and lead the nation in future. This huge section of population has to get a direction, enhance the skill set to face emerging challenges of water governance and natural resource management. Efficient resource management is a priority that the youth has to learn and build upon, he said.
The foundation course that RDF has organised for the youth of water stressed areas of Mirpurkahs district would help them to be change-maker of their areas and help out their communities address water shortages and improve water distribution systems.
Ghulam Ali Jariko, Director Sindh Development Study Center (SDSC) said agriculture is rich source of economy of the country and we have to give importance to improve productivity through water governance. He said there is dire need to promote new leadership in agriculture and water management practices. He said traditional practices should be replaced with new successful models.
Prof Muhammad Ismail Kumbhar of Sindh Agriculture University (SAU) Tandojam talked about climate change, its effects on natural resources and suggested to focus on small-scale farming with utilising small pieces of lands and get more yield. It can be possible when people need to be provided skills. He appreciated this course for young farmers, who may benefit to rural communities.
It was 15 days youth leadership course in water governance for the rural youth to equip them understand water governance and better work to change the water management system in their respective areas and raise voice for the unequal distribution mechanisms.
The youth is supposed to work together with Farmer Organisations (FOs) and watercourse associations of Nara Canal system to avert the distribution problems and enhance water efficiency.
During the course the youth learnt various concepts of water governance and observed smart farming techniques, management of water bodies.