Workshop on GIS for agri monitoring commences

RAWALPINDI: A three-day Regional Training Workshop on GIS for agricultural monitoring commenced at Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) on Monday with an aim to impart knowledge on efficient use of Geo-information for monitoring and mapping of various agricultural processes and systems.

The workshop was organised by PMAS-AAUR in collaboration Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) and Inter Islamic Network on Information Technology (IINIT). PMAS-AAUR Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Rai Niaz Ahmad was the chief guest while MPA Raja Muhammad Hanif and MPA Malik Iftikhar were the guests of honour on the occasion. Participants from Sudan, Morocco, Iran and Aljeria, agricultural scientists, policymakers, GIS and remote sensing analysts, faculty members and students from Pakistan are also attending the workshop.

PMAS-AAUR VC Dr Rai Niaz Ahmad, in his address, said that food security is one of the major challenges for the world. He emphasised that sustainable agricultural land use critically depends on continuous assessment and monitoring of agricultural processes. In order to reduce the threat of temporary imbalances between food supply and demand, we have to obtain timely and accurate information on areas of crops and their productions, he added.

He further said that satellite based remote sensing and geographic information system substantially increases the value of information on agricultural land usage, crop production estimation and climate change assessment.

He was of the view that universities are the hub of research, innovations and capacity building. He urged the faculty members to play their pivotal role of capacity building of agriculture professionals in the emerging fields like GIS & Remote Sensing, Biotechnology, Nanotechnology and ICT for Agriculture. Ahmad congratulated the organisers for taking lead and organising this workshop and hoped that PMAS-AAUR would continue playing its part for development of agriculture sector.

ISESCO representative Dr Aicha Bammoun, IINIT representative Engr Tahir Naeem and focal person of workshop Dr Mobushir Riaz Khan in their key note addresses comprehensively enlightened the features of remote sensing and GIS that these are the reliable means of collecting information on crop monitoring and damage assessment, crop growth modeling, crop production estimation and yield gap analysis.

In the three-day workshop, participants would provide the use of satellite imagery, remote sensing and GIS applications as tool at various scales to assess the evolution of vegetation cover. The workshop would also highlight the importance of promoting the creation of national databases for agriculture indicators related to national and regional figures for vegetation cover, the evolution of crop lands and characterisation of these lands (agriculture, forests, pastures etc.).

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