Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Bosan calls for ensuring balanced use of fertilisers

Fertilizers are the major input to boost crop production, but unfortunately in Pakistan the use of fertilizers is not balanced as farmers are unaware of their importance, said Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan Federal Minister for Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFS&R).

Sikandar Hayat while addressing a symposium on public-private partnership to manage soil fertility, organised by Food & Agriculture organisation (FAO) and MNFS&R, said that as per FAO estimates balanced use of fertilisers could enhance crops yield by 30 to 50 percent in various zones of the country. The minister said that imbalance in use of fertilisers was the main cause of varied quantity of nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium in the soil, which resulted in reduced crop production and soil fertility.

The symposium was aimed at creating awareness among farmers, fertilisers industry and agriculture extension officials about balanced use of fertilisers and its role in food security and sustainable agriculture growth. The minister said FAO, in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC), was working on a two-year project on 'Soil Fertility Management for Sustainable Intensification' in Punjab and Sindh provinces. The main objective of the project was to provide a baseline atlas of current soil fertility practices depending on farm size and cropping pattern, he said.

The minister urged all the stakeholders to make efforts to ensure balanced use of fertilisers and expand the scope of that initiative to Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

He said the project would help understand the required soil fertility management changes for sustainable intensification. Various stakeholders including the representatives of the provincial agriculture departments, national fertilizer companies, Directorates of Agriculture Extension, Agriculture Research and Agricultural Information; Soil Fertility Research Institutes, International Potash Institute, Harvest Plus, International Center for Agriculture Research in Dry Areas, academia, farmer associations and donor community gathered here to discuss and develop common strategic framework for the promotion of 4Rs (Right fertilizer at the Right rate at the Right time and in the Right place) among farming communities.

Dr Iftikhar Ahmad, chairman PARC, speaking on the occasion said that soil fertility was also a major issue in Pakistan therefore raising awareness about land management was mandatory. The use of fertilisers in Pakistan was imbalanced, proper ratio of fertilizer was being ignored, resulting in low income of the farmers, he said.

Iftikhar said in Pakistan no data or map was available about soil fertility. Patrick T Evans FAO representative in Pakistan speaking on the occasion said FAO was working on a baseline atlas of current soil fertility practices, disaggregated by farm size and cropping systems in Pakistan. The atlas would help understand required soil fertility management changes for sustainable intensification, he added. He said that 2015 was the International Year of Soils. Healthy soils for a healthy life.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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