Agricultural experts, scientists and social activists have said that Thar is not only a famine-affected or a desert area but a region rich in different resources. There is a need of more research on agriculture and livelihood in Thar. The Sindh government should invest in domestic and agro-based industries for the development of Thar and its residents.

The First Thar Festival was organized at Sindh Agriculture University under the auspices of Thari Students Council and the Student Teachers Engagement Program which was presided over by Dr. Fateh Marri, Vice Chancellor, Sindh Agricultural University, on Thursday.

Addressing to inauguration ceremony at main auditorium hall, Dr. Fateh Marri said that in order to develop Thar, there would have to be innovation in agriculture, and new projects in agriculture and livestock would have to be proposed.

He said that there are huge opportunities, potential in agriculture and livestock in the arid areas, therefore a sub-campus of the Sindh Agriculture University has been set up in Umerkot.

Dr. Bhai Khan Shar, Vice Chancellor, Shaheed Allah Bakhsh Soomro University of Art, Design and Heritage said Pakistan does not have modern equipment to export to the world or more technology than developed countries, but Agricultural products and handicrafts can be exported to different countries of the world and investment in tourism can contribute to national development, he said Thar is rich in resources, which need to be examined and there is an urgent need for agricultural research in Thar.

Former Vice Chancellor of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Veterinary University Sakrand and eminent veterinary expert Dr. Jay Mal Dhanani said that livestock and agriculture are very important in the livelihood and business of Thar, therefore Research Institutions and the government should be serious to engaging youths of thar in the both fields and need of create more opportunities of scholarships for Thari students.

Zahida Detho, head of Sindh Rural Partner Organization, said that Thari woman is the bravest woman in the world, she faces many difficulties, at the same time, the Thari women raise their children through carpet-making, agriculture and cattle-raising and handicrafts, so the girls there should come to education and research to reduce the burden on women.

Prof. Muhammad Ismail Kambhar, Secretary STEP said that Sindh Agriculture University has laid the foundation of a new tradition with academic and research, he said that Thar Festival is not only an entertainment program for the students but also an attempt has been made to highlight the issues and opportunities related with thar.

Director General Agriculture Research Sindh Noor Mohammad Soomro, Social Leader Marvi Awan, Deans Dr. Qamaruddin Chachar, Dr. Aijaz Ali Khoharo, Dr. Syed Ghiasuddin Shah Rashidi, Dr. Naimatullah Leghari, Dr. Jan Mohammad Marri, Dr. Abdullah Arijo, Dr. Abdul Wahid Baloch, Dr. Altaf Siyal, Dr. Syed Ziaul Hassan Shah and others were present.

During the Thar Festival, exhibitions and stalls were set up for Thari cultural dresses, vegetables and fruits, cultivation and thari hereditary household items, which were visited by Guests.

Thari Students Shankar Singh Sodho, Suresh Kumar, Ahmed Ali Rahmon, Nand Lal Bheel, Paromal Maharani, Bilawal Banbhan, Suman Devi, Kainat Halepoto, Surath and others organized the event.

Author

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

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