ISLAMABAD: The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has trained 27 technical staff members of the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), enabling them to implement drought mitigation activities.
In this regards, a training workshop on Agricultural Stress Index System (ASIS) was organised in collaboration with the PMD. Its basic aim was to train the local technical staff to develop and promote agriculture drought monitoring system at the national, as well as provincial level, to avoid possible harmful impact on the agriculture sector in the country.
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An FAO official on Wednesday said that the organization had trained technical staffers of PMD from Islamabad, Punjab and Sindh.
The other objective of the workshop was to enable decision makers to implement drought mitigation activities in the agriculture sector on time to protect different crops, fruit orchids and vegetable farms from the harmful impact of any possible change in the natural climate, he added.
In this regard, he said, the FAO had developed a tool which was called ASIS for helping countries strengthen their agricultural drought monitoring and early-warning systems.
The ASIS, he said, is aimed at simulating an environment that would be performed by a remote-sensing expert and simplify the results in the form of maps for users, he added.
He said agriculture in Pakistan was most affected by natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, droughts, landslides.
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The FAO was also building the capacity of key stakeholders to use global ASIS to detect areas with a high likelihood of prolonged dry periods and drought.
“FAO provided satellite data every ten days, which was an ideal time-frame for monitoring annual crops because it took account of the water contributed by groundwater reserves,” he added.
The final results were then summarized in easy-to-interpret maps, enabling decision-makers to implement drought mitigation activities in agriculture timely.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 8th, 2018.