08 October 2021, Pakistan: CABI, together with the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFS&R), is leading an initiative to promote organic agriculture in Pakistan as part of an ambitious plan to help alleviate poverty and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
CABI’s centre in Pakistan is working with MNFS&R to form a national working group which will look to implement the organic agricultural policy framed around the need to develop supply chains of high-quality organic seed and essential bio-inputs.
A launch workshop was held recently in Islamabad under the Chairmanship of Mr Syed Fakhar Imam, the Federal Minister for MNFS&R, who was also joined by Dr Babar E. Bajwa, CABI’s Senior Regional Director, Asia, Dr Khalid Abdullah, Cotton Commissioner at MNFS&R as well as representatives from the federal, provincial governments and private sector. These included those from seed, bio-inputs companies, dealers, manufacturers, farmers associations and organic farmers.
Enhancing national organic standards
Under the auspice of ‘Building the Policy Ecosystem for Organic Production Landscape in Pakistan,’ it was agreed that the project outcomes will focus on enhancing national organic standards and the transformation of institutional approaches from the conventional to organic agriculture techniques.
It was also envisaged that business development at the local level for seed and bio-inputs would be supported and serve as a pillar for organic agriculture landscape development.
Mr Syed Fakhar Imam appreciated CABI’s efforts in leading the policy development work and added that the creation of the organic agriculture policy will play a pivotal role in boosting the domestic organic industry.
“Pakistan’s immense potential in the organic agriculture ecosystem can play an important role in fighting poverty and climatic change,” Mr Syed Fakhar Imam said. “There is a dire need to promote organic agriculture for safe and healthy food to local and international populations; efficient water management practices for future generations and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the chemical-intensive conventional agriculture production system.”
Mitigating threats of climate change
Dr Bajwa also pointed out the potential of organic agriculture to mitigate the threats due to climate change and increase the sustainability of the agricultural production system by minimizing the use of chemical inputs, fertilizers and pesticides, as well as making agriculture more environmentally sustainable and economically viable.
In closing the meeting, Dr Abdullah shared consolidated feedback and suggestions from the stakeholders. The national working group will be finalized through the nominations collected from this workshop to develop the Organic Agriculture Policy under the umbrella of MNFS&R.