HYDERABAD: Sindh Agriculture University’s experiment of growing trees and paddy crops in saline soil is heading towards success.

Australian experts and representatives of the leading agricultural, research and irrigation institutions have termed this research project as a milestone for agricultural development in the future.

The experts of Sindh Agriculture University along with other stakeholders established an experimental and scientific field near Mula Katiyar of district Tando Muhammad Khan, in collaboration with Australian Government, under “Adapting to Salinity in the Southern Indus Basin (ASSIB)” project.

The project aims to develop and investigate adaptation options and strategies with people managing and living in salinity-affected agricultural landscapes in the southern Indus Basin.

In this regard, representatives of various institutions including Sindh Agriculture University Tando Jam, Mehran University Jamshoro, Agriculture Research Sindh, SIDA, SOFT NGO, and a team from Australia, conducted an observation visit to the experimental field.

Later, speaking at a briefing session in the committee room of the university, Vice Chancellor Dr Fateh Marri said that the Sindh Agriculture University is conducting research to make the existing land resources arable, especially for growing crops on saline and arid lands. He said we have been able to achieve successful results through this Australian government supported project, and these results will be transferred to farming community.

Dr Michael Mitchell, the project leader of Charles Sturt University, Australia, said that the concept of sustainable agriculture in the lands affected by water scarcity and salinity in Pakistan is a big challenge, and various institutions are engaged in joint efforts to deal with this challenge.

Dr Sandra Heaney Mustafa, Community Engagement and Adult Education Coordinator, University of Canberra, Australia, said that secondary salinity in Pakistan contributes about 15 million tons of salt to the Indus Basin annually due to irrigated agriculture. She told that salinity affects at least 4.5 million hectares of land across the country and 54% of the lower Indus basin. The project is designed to initiate a long-term research program in the salinity-affected landscapes of Pakistan.

Dr Edward Barrett Lennard, Adaptation Options Research Leader, Murdoch University, Australia, said that the partnership of SAU and other institutions has yielded better results from this experimental field, which will be beneficial for making the saline lands of the farmers’ arable in the future.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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