QUETTA: Experts at a workshop advised Pakistan on Monday to increase its food production by 50 per cent to meet the needs of a projected population of 221 million by 2025.
The daylong workshop on ‘Technical Assistance: Balochistan Water Resources Development Project’ was jointly organised by the federal and Balochistan governments and the Asian Development Bank in collaboration with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
The experts observed that water situation in Balochistan is worse than other areas of the country.
Akhtar Ali, Principal Water Resources Specialist, Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Division, Central and West Asia Department, ADB, called for an urgent action to achieve water and food security. “Agriculture accounts for about two-thirds of the provincial domestic product, 60pc of labour force, and supports industry by providing raw material and consuming products by other industries. However, the agricultural sector suffers from water shortage, frequent drought, and poor farming practices, and exposes the rural communities to high vulnerability, especially women and children.”
The workshop was informed that to handle the challenges, the technical assistance of $1.1m, financed by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction has started, which will hold the government of Balochistan, assess basin’s water resources and develop priority projects within the two selected basins.
Nadeem Shah, Honorary Consul General of Japan at Quetta, expressed happiness over Japan’s commitment to improve water and food security in the region and reaffirmed Japan’s continuous support to projects in Pakistan.
Rio Tanabe, Associate Senior Administrator, Satellite Application and Operations Centre, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, shared her agency’s experience of utilising technology for water resources and river basin management.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will provide technical assistance as adviser.