HYDERABAD: Agricultural and water experts, and progressive farmers have emphasised the need for conserving water in the lower areas of Sindh and promoting urban and vertical agriculture.

They said the drip irrigation system should be used for agriculture on 50pc Sindh’s uncultivated agricultural land.

They were speaking at a consultation seminar titled “Food-Water Nexus: Connecting Dots”, hosted by the Sindh Agriculture University (SAU) in collaboration with the Research and Development Foundation (RDF) and Welthungerhilfe, a German organisation, held at the Senate Hall on Thursday.

SAU VC Dr Fateh Marri said there had been no significant development in agricultural production for the past 30 years so there was a need to promote technologies related to urban agriculture and more efficient use of water. He said that modern agricultural technology must be adopted by farmers due to growing population and possible water shortage.

Syed Nadeem Shah, a progressive farmer and Sindh Abadgar Board leader, said that vertical farming and food preservation were practiced in the developed countries while everyone grew vegetables for their domestic needs in China. He expressed concern that farmlands were being converted into colonies.

Ghulam Mustafa Ujjan, general manager (transition) at the Sindh Irrigation and Development Authority (Sida), said students should be involved in research on agricultural, economic and water policies while the government, private institutions and farmers should jointly work on water.

RDF executive director Ashfaq Ahmed Soomro said that water was not being used properly and that use of canals and rainwater in agriculture, houses and food should be the right way.

Welthungerhilfe program manager Sarwan Baloch said that rural areas produced food that was consumed in urban areas and added that food production should also begin in cities while a value chain system should be transferred to farmers.

Dr Dilip Kumar said that by 2050, population would reach 9.2 billion and till then food and its quality would not be safe.

Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2023

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