Pakistan facing food challenges due to rapid increase in population: Chairman PARC

Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) and Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) Pakistan jointly launched the Plant Wise Plus Program at the National Agricultural Research Center to help improve food security in Pakistan through more sustainable methods of food production.

The launch ceremony was attended by senior officials of provincial agricultural departments, extension and research wings besides national and provincial agricultural institutes. Vice chancellors, deans and senior management and private sector representatives were also present on the occasion.

Says Climate change a major factor affecting agricultural sector

Dr. Daniel Elgar, CEO. CABI also participated in the event virtually.The chief guest of the event, Chairman Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, Dr. Ghulam Muhammad Ali, in his opening remarks said that the dynamic challenges faced by agriculture need to be tackled through concrete measures. He highlighted that Pakistan is facing many challenges to meet growing demands of food and fiber owing rapid population growth.

Certified assessment by Plant Wise Plus program to be helpful for farmers. Dr Babar Ehsan Bajwa

Climate change is turned to be the leading factor affecting our agriculture sector. A great lesson for us is the recent floods which destroyed our most productive lands and crops. For this, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council is playing its role with its partners to implement government policy and need-based research for agricultural development. Chairman PARC appreciated CABI for successfully conducting Plant Health Clinic. Dr. Ali said that PARC and CABI have been working for a long time to implement various projects and programs in the country. Chairman PARC urged the scientists to work on innovative projects.

Finally, Chairman PARC thanked CABI Senior Regional Director Babar Ihsan Bajwa, his team and all provincial stakeholders for launching the PlantwisePlus program which aims to reduce crop losses to farmers and use artificial intelligence to identify pests and ensuring food security by helping to manage diseases in an integrated manner.

Dr. Babar Ehsan Bajwa, Senior Regional Director Asia, (CABI) said that the government is convinced and enthusiastic about the quality assurance of operations, processes and outcomes of the Plant Clinic under the Plant Wise Plus programme. He added that the government believes that a network of plant clinics would be run in the country to provide pest diagnosis and advisory services to farmers.

Dr. Bajwa said, “Furthermore, this program is helping to identify pests and diseases with new and existing extensions, especially introduction of digital tools and certified diagnosis will be helpful to farmers.

(CABI) Project Coordinator Dr. Mohammad Naeem Aslam highlighted the PlantwisePlus program features and said that researchers and extension workers can take advantage of CABI’s online resources like Crop Protection Compendium, Invasive Species Compendium, etc. CABI Compendium brings species, pest and disease data and research together in a comprehensive form.