FAO Applauds Innovative Agriculture Models in Thar

HYDERABAD, Jan 31 (APP): The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has applauded innovative agriculture models which are being applied in Tharparkar district and termed initiatives critical for the food security of that area.

The spokesman of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) informed here on Sunday that a delegation of FAO’s officials led by the Country Representative in Pakistan Rebekah Olivia Bell visited Tharparkar and witnessed the bio-saline agriculture and fisheries pilot projects. He said the two projects were being operated by the Thar Foundation, the welfare arm of SECMC in Thar Coal Block II and Gorano reservoir area.

The delegation also included FAO senior officials Ashraf Ali, Amir Sultan, Ghulam Qadir Mangrio, Shariq Aziz, and Aamer Irshad, he added. The spokesman said the delegation was briefed about apple ber orchards, Sindh’s largest private-sector saplings nursery the Thar Million Tree Initiative, the Green Park and the Gorano pond where organic fisheries was being practiced. The delegation was also served cooked organic Gorano pond’s fish which had been declared fit for human consumption by a leading laboratory of Pakistan, he said.

The delegation was told that Thar had great potential for biosaline agriculture and fisheries, as 80 billion cubic meters of water with 5,000 to 6,000 total dissolved solids (TDS) level in the aquifer which could be pumped out to irrigate nutritive crops for human and livestock consumption. Speaking during the visit Bell applauded the initiatives. She said the FAO provided technical assistance to the provincial and federal governments of Pakistan and had established its offices in Sindh to work closer in the areas of mutual interest.

“Agriculture models should benefit local communities in terms of livelihood betterments and develop linkages with the private sector,” she added.

Briefing the delegation about different initiatives, Thar Foundation and SECMC’s CEO Syed Abul Fazal Rizvi said the community development initiatives undertaken by them had been linked with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“We aim at making Islamkot taluka UN-SDG compliant by year 2025,” said Rizvi.

And for that purpose a comprehensive house-to-house survey has been carried out by Thar Foundation in consultation with UN-SDG Cell, UNDP and the Planning and Development Department of Sindh Government, he added. He said, they had received successful outcomes under the pilot projects which needed to be scaled up with the support of the provincial government and technical expert support from organisations like FAO.

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