QUETTA: The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations in partnership with the Ministry of National Food Security and Research and Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) organised a workshop on ‘Implementation of 4R Nutrient Stewardship for Sustainable Management of Horticultural Crops in Balochistan’ on Thursday.
As per the statement issued by FAO, the objective of the event was to highlight the project initiated with an aim to increase capacity of provincial governments (Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa), government of Pakistan, and federal level institutes to promote sustainable agriculture intensification.
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It also read that the project also aimed to showcase the significance of 4R nutrient stewardship for sustainable nutrient management for food and nutritional security; seek growers' feedback to document current management practices at farm-gate; and devise a long-term plan for sustainable production and natural resources management in Balochistan.
A total of 60 farmers from all seven agro ecological zones in Balochistan and experts from Provincial Agriculture Department, Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS), University of Agriculture Peshawar, K-P, Agricultural Services Departments of Fertilizer Industry, PARC, NARC, NFDC Islamabad, Nuclear Institute for Agriculture and Biology (NIAB), Faisalabad participated.
FAO Chief Technical Adviser and Project Manager, Balochistan Marcel Stallen attended the opening session of the workshop and emphasised on the need for balanced use of nutrients and water for sustainable production of horticultural crops in Balochistan.
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BARDC, PARC Quetta Director General Dr Abdul Hanan welcomed the participants on behalf of the project implementing agency - PARC.
FAO Soil Scientist Dr Waqar Ahmad presented a comprehensive overview of the project.
Former NFDC chief Dr NisarAhmad highlighted the role of sustainable soil management, balanced use of inputs and soil and plant laboratory analysis.
The focus of technical presentations was on plant nutrition, deficiency symptoms arising from unavailability of macro- and micro-nutrients and correcting the nutrient deficiency for increasing crop/fruit yield following 4R nutrient approach.
There was ample room for discussion between farmers and experts.
One of the farmers from Pishin emphasised during the closing of the workshop that: "…..we are ready to cooperate on the development and testing of improved and balanced fertilizer recommendations in our fields. If successful, this initiative will not only reduce production costs but will simultaneously enhance product quality, improve the quality of the soil and contribute to the improvement of our environment in Balochistan.”