FAO advocates for 4Rs

Karachi: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in partnership with the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) and the U.S. Department for Agriculture (USDA) convened a one-day workshop on the “Contribution of balanced use of fertilizers towards food security” at a local hotel.

The objective of the workshop was to highlight the significance of balanced fertilization in sustainable agriculture and food security. The workshop promoted the use of appropriate balanced inputs and 4Rs (Right fertilizer at the Right rate at the Right time in the Right place) Nutrient Stewardship in partnership with the private sector, including fertilizer companies (FFC, Engro and Fatima Fertilizer Company Limited), wholesalers/retailers and farmer associations.

The participants of the workshop also assessed the use of fertilizer management practices at farm-gate level with special focus on Mango plantation.

This workshop brought together more than 75 participants from the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, National Fertilizer Development Centre (NFDC), provincial agricultural research, information and extension departments, academia, HarvestPlus, Fertilizer Industry, Farmer Associations, Research Institutes and FAO to share experiences, case studies and initiatives.

The inaugural session was chaired by Dr. Nisar Ahmad- Former Chief NFDC, Planning Commission of Pakistan. In his address to the participants he emphasized on the significance of 4R Nutrient Stewardship for sustainable agricultural intensification in the country with special reference to the Mango production.

In his address, FAO Assistant Representative (Programme) Nasar Hayat said: “FAO is working on a baseline atlas of current soil fertility practices, disaggregated by farm size and cropping systems in Pakistan. The atlas will help to understand required soil fertility management changes for sustainable intensification. Consequently, appropriate balanced inputs and 4Rs would be promoted.” He further said that “it is imperative to include farmer’s experiences in devising fertilizer management strategy for sustainable crop production”.

On this occasion, Dr Mubarak Ahmed, Director General Southern-zone Agriculture Research Centre, PARC in his welcome note said that soil fertility is also a major issue in Pakistan. The promotion of sustainable soil and land management is central to ensuring soil and crop for sustainable agricultural development and environment. The public and private sector should join hands in resolving the export issues related with the Mango across the country. He emphasized the need of coming up with state of the art good agricultural practices, processing and packaging to ensure value addition and earning foreign exchange.

Dr Waqar Ahmad (Soil Expert, FAO) gave a detailed presentation on the project overview and objectives of the workshop. He highlighted the significance of the fertilizer use assessment at the farmer gate level, and the important role of public private sectors to enhance quality produce.