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Poor policy & governance structures major reasons for low productivity: PARC chief

Islamabad:     (Parliament Times)      Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) in collaboration with University of South Australia is implementing a research project on “Efficient Participatory Irrigation to Support Productive and Sustainable Agriculture in South Asia” with Punjab and Sindh Irrigation Departments The project is funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).

The project aims to improve the analytical skills and understanding of policy makers, irrigation officials and other stakeholders, specifically as they relate to Participatory Irrigation Management (PIM). The project is at its final stage of implementation. The purpose of this workshop was to share the initial finding of the project with relevant stakeholders and policy makers. It is an initiative by PARC to bring together researchers, policy-makers and stakeholders working on irrigation and water management in order to derive future insights for participatory irrigation management and policy in the region.

Addressing to the participants of Workshop, Muhammad Ayub Chaudhry, Chairman, PARC said that poor policy and governance structures prevailing in the country is major reasons for low productivity. Water which is the chief input to agriculture, is also suffering from institutional deficiencies. As Water scarcity intensifies due to an increasing population and impacts of climate variability, the importance of robust irrigation institutions is paramount. The Chairman, PARC further added that Australian Govt. has been supporting for sustainable socio-economic growth in Pakistan since long through Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). The regional project on “Efficient participatory irrigation institutions to support productive and sustainable agriculture in south Asia” is a step further to peak this collaboration. He also appreciated ACIAR to bring together partners from the whole Pakistan and Australia on the common subject of improving governance and coordination of various institutions.

Addressing to the Ceremony, Dr. Lin Crase, Head of School of Economic, Adelaide University, Australia said that The need for improving irrigation management has been figuring high on the agenda of most national and international agencies in the past. This was triggered by the declining irrigation performance despite sizeable investments on the rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructure. The recently established Australian Water Partnership will be used to source Australian experienced industry personnel to participate in discussions about the practice of devolving decision making. Dr. Muhammad Ashraf, Chairman, PCWR, Islamabad and Dr. Ahmed Kamal, Chairman, Federal Flood Commission, Islamabad also spoke on the occasion.

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