Islamabad, March 05, 2014 (PPI-OT): Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, Federal Minister for Ministry of National Food Security and Research said that there is an immediate need to formulate a unified rangeland policy both at national and provincial level for effective management of rangeland resources of Pakistan. The minister said that rangeland resources of the country were depleting due to overgrazing, cutting of trees, soil erosion, climate change and mismanagement.
The Federal Minister also said that rangeland area of Pakistan accounted for 52.2 million hectares, which was around 60% of the geographical area of the country, and this huge resource supported millions of livestock throughout the county which contribute to food security, nutrition and livelihood of the poor and vulnerable people in the rural areas through its various functions and services.
The Minister said this while addressing a symposium on ‘Rangeland Resources of Pakistan’ which was organized by Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the UN and Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) here in Islamabad. Patrick Evans, FAO representative in Pakistan, Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad Chairman PARC, representatives of Agricultural Departments of all the provinces and agricultural scientists were also present on the occasion.
Rangeland is a stretch of grazing and hunting ground which is one of the major sources of feed for livestock. The Federal Minister further stated that livestock sector has emerged as a leading sub-sector of agriculture over the years as it contributes about 12 percent to national GDP.
“Livestock production is one of the major activities, as it engages about 35 million people in rearing livestock in rural areas who derive around 40% of their income from it. In this case, rangelands provide forage to livestock in various ecological zones throughout the country. Therefore, it was imperative to systematically and efficiently manage this precious resource” stated the minister.
Besides catering to the feed needs of animals, rangelands also play a key role in water recharging, sustainable water flow for human consumption, irrigation and hydel power generation, added the minister.
The minister also stressed that immediate attention of policy makers, government departments, research institutions, private sector organizations and local community is needed to initiate key developmental activities for rehabilitation of other rangelands. Mr. Bosan also emphasized upon launching a robust awareness campaign for livestock rearing families to realize the importance of rangeland management.
“The awareness campaign should focus on educating people connected with livestock production to be more cautious about the quality of the livestock rather than member of livestock otherwise large numbers of animals of non-productive in nature will exhaust rangeland resources without meaningful return from it”, elaborated the minister.
Speaking on the occasion, Patrick Evans, FAO Representative in Pakistan, said that Pakistan has more than 165 million heads of livestock and depletion of rangelands will lead to livestock feed deficiency. He further stated that FAO was working closely with Ministry of National Food Security to chalk out a roadmap for judicious management of this important resource in integrated and comprehensive manner. Federal Minister appreciated efforts of FAO and PARC for highlighting the important issue of rangeland management.
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