By our correspondent

Agriculture and Soil experts of Sindh worrying about the increasing salinity in the soil that could pose a serious threat to food security and rising salinity in agricultural land due to various reasons is having a profound effect on the agricultural production of the country.

World Soil Day was observed and hosted by Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam in the collaboration of Soil Science Society of Pakistan, Soil Science Department and Farm Advisory Center (FFC), on Monday.

Addressing a seminar on “Halt soil salinization, boost soil productivity” at Dr. AM Sheikh Auditorium Hall, Dr. Fateh Marri, Vice Chancellor, Sindh Agricultural University (SAU), said that climate change, rising substandard groundwater in agriculture land and sea water interference are the main reasons for the increase in salinity in agricultural land.

He said that with a focus on reducing the salinity of the soil, research on crop cultivation on saline affected lands should be intensified, in this regard, he also announced the establishment of Bio-Saline Agriculture Center at Sindh Agricultural University.

Dr. Inayatullah Rajpar, Chairman, Department of Soil Science, said that agricultural land of Sindh is most affected by salinity, although no salinity survey has been conducted in Sindh for a long time,  at present 6.3 million hectares of land is deteriorating due to salinity.

Abdul Jaleel Jarwar, Deputy Manager Marketing, Fuji Fertilizer Company, said that we have to live with the soil affected by salinity, therefore, biological control can be used to grow crops on land, “at present agricultural land covers an area of 7.9 million hectares affected by salt” he added.

Nizamuddin Depar, head of the Soil and Environmental Sciences at the Nuclear Institute of Agriculture, said many crops could be cultivated under bio-saline agriculture, adding that housing schemes were increasingly being built on agricultural land.

Dr. Ghulam Murtaza Jamro, General Secretary, Soil Science Society of Pakistan, said that healthy soil is an important component of agriculture, agricultural scientists can solve the problems facing local farmers by providing them with the latest technology information on soil fertility.

On the occasion Mehboob Ali Siyal, Director, Nuclear Institute of Agriculture, Dean Dr. Naimatullah Leghari, Dean Dr. Syed Ghiyasuddin Shah, Mr. Zahoor Ahmed Palejo, Project Manager, Action Against Hunger Pakistan, Pir Ahmad Naqi Shah and Dr. Ziaul Hassan Shah Dr. Syed Javed Shah, Nabi Bakhsh Jamro, Abdul Jalil Jarwar, Zahoor Ahmed Palijo, Dr. Saleem Bhatti and others participated.

A poster exhibition was also displayed by the students regarding the soil in which Miss Iqra first, Miss Razia Sultana second and Miss Alia Rajput got third position, the Vice Chancellor distributed cash prizes among the successful students.

Author

Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

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