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4R Nutrient Stewardship for Sustainable Agriculture Intensification in Pakistan: Baseline Input Atlas and Promotion of Best Soil Management Practices Balochistan, 19th – 22nd October 2018

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in partnership with the Ministry of National Food Security & Research and Pakistan Agricultural Research Council is implementing a United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) funded project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces. The project aims to contribute to sustainable intensification of agriculture production in Pakistan using global best practices applied to local condition that would result in increased capacity of provincial governments (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan), Government of Pakistan, and federal level institutes to promote sustainable agriculture intensification. This would be achieved through building capacity of relevant provincial partners in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan in terms of soil fertility and health monitoring, data interpretation and visualization.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations conducted a series of capacity building/development events at Quetta, Balochistan (19-22 October 2018) consisting of Task Force Meeting, Training workshop on Soil Health Monitoring, Fertility Management and Data Visualization, Commodity-based Workshop on Rice, Working Group Meeting-Soil Atlas Development of Balochistan and Global Soil Partnership.

The Task Force Meeting on 19th October 2018 addressed Ascertainment of soil classification-related information, Identification of best management practices and key messages, Finalization of key findings of the Inputs Use Assessment (Balochistan), Compilation of fertilizer off-take data and information on the existence of Soil and Water Testing Laboratories in Balochistan.

On 20th October 2018, The Training on Soil Health Monitoring, Fertility Management and Data Visualization focused on Awareness raising on various concepts related with Soil Health Monitoring, Fertility Management and Data Visualization, Nature of Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management (VGSSM), Conventional methods for assessing nutrients status, Advances in soil and plant analysis.     

On 3rd day (21st October 2018), a richly attended commodity-based workshop on rice achieved the following, Show-case the significance of 4R nutrient stewardship for sustainable nutrient management for food and nutritional security with particularly reference to rice crop, Seek farmers/growers feedback to document current management practices for rice at farm-gate, Devise long-term plan for sustainable production and natural resources management in Balochistan.

On third day, Dr. Javed Tareen, Director General, Agriculture Research Balochistan chaired the concluding session. During this session farmers raised their challenges. It was highlighted, there is no soil and water testing laboratory functional in rice cropping zone. Farmers has no direct access to the market. Dr. Tareen ensured farmers to come up with solution in extending soil and water testing facilities for the rice growers.  

The Consultative Meeting of Working Group on Soil Atlas Development Balochistan and Global Soil Partnership held on 22nd October 2018 effectively highlighted Existing soil and water, conservation techniques in the country, Mechanism for integrating guiding principles of Sustainable Soil Management in national curriculum, Gaps in the existing research system concerning soil management principles and practices, Various aspects on improvement and finalization of Soil Organic Carbon maps , Components of soil information system concerning soil profile description, classification and soil mapping, Generalized maps, district profiles and key messages for Atlas.

Professor Dr. Riaz Hussain Qureshi, Ex-VC, UAF and Ex-Advisor HEC concluded the final day of the events with his remarks. It was underscored, active role of the participants in these events will help in the long way for betterment of scientific research and education in the Balochistan. In the feedback of the workshops, Dr Qureshi appreciated the role of soil Scientist/Project Lead, to bring together all key stakeholders, scientist, policy makers and small farmers  to develop the required resource and knowledge for soil management in Balochistan..

(Maqbool Shahbaz)
Director (PR&P) PARC
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