|Sustainable Semi-Arid Development|
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February 27, 1998
Subject: Semi Arid Sustainable Development Project
The communities in semi arid areas have mainly depended upon agriculture as their economic base and have not been able to keep pace with development in other aspects of life. Further, the burgeoning population has put pressure on the limited resources. There is a growing realization that:
1) The farmers face multi-dimensional problems.
2) Most of the packages of agricultural technologies/interventions are capital intensive and are not appropriate for farmers with small holdings.
3) Packages of technologies ignore the ground realities and are not integrated with the local and indigenous knowledge.
4) There is a growing population, the number of youths without proper education and training is growing especially in the rural areas.
5) The traditional approaches to agricultural development and transfer technology are no longer effective and sustainable.
Thus the pace of agricultural development is staggering. Keeping these facts in view, the Semi Arid Sustainable Development Project was developed in collaboration with the Department of Anthropology, University of Kent, UK.
PARC's main role is to introduce interventions which are cost effective, scientifically sound, environment friendly and sustainable socially and economically. These intervention are multi-sectoral e.g. new crop introduction, sustainable land use, soil and water conservation, horticulture, forestry, animal science, energy conservation, health and education. These interventions have to be integrated with local knowledge as well as with the development of local community. Under this project, it is envisaged that multidisciplinary activities based on participatory approach would be more effective for sustainable development in the rural areas where all the people of the community can be benefited. The Department of Anthropology, University of Kent, UK, will assist us in acquiring new farm technologies from the world over, farm planning, germ plasm/seed collection, development evaluation and monitoring etc. The University of Kent will monitor the social and anthropological changes in minute details; 2-3 PhD students will come to Pakistan for this. The University of Kent has already developed the Web page of the project which is on the Internet with the address: http://lucy.ukc.ac.uk/Ssad
This is an excellent opportunity for PARC to introduce its packages of technology and evaluate these packages and interventions critically. It is a long term investment and the results obtained from this project will help us in developing new and comprehensive models for agricultural development. Initially, Bhalot village, district Attock has been identified as the primary project site. It is about 40 km from NARC. The way to Bhalot is a metalled road. Considerable work has already been done on educating the local community regarding the project objectives and aims. Mr. Asif Nawaz Malik, a community leader of the village, has already agreed to give two rooms in his village house for the project office. The same area can also be used as "Farm Technology Centre", where PARC can house some farm implements.
The Chairman of PARC is requested to approve the following:
PARC should formally notify "Semi Arid Sustainable Development Project" and declare Bhalot village as the PARC project area. This can be used for out-reach activities as well as for demonstrations and field experiments.
The notification of the PARC technical team:
The team members will work on part time basis in the project. Their parent departments/institutes will assist and facilitate (materially, financially and logistically etc.) them. They will be entitled to use their technical and field staff for their work in this project.
However, two scientific officers, one scientific assistant and one driver, will be needed to work on full time basis in the project.
Some modest furniture (one office table, 5-6 chairs, a cupboard etc.) is needed for the project office, Bhalot. PARC will also allow the project to move some farm implements, e.g. drills, ploughs as and when needed.
A modest amount of funds may be allocated as core budget for operational and development activities. These funds will be non lapse-able and strictly used for development purposes according to the standard government rules and procedures. One 4 x 4 double cabin vehicle is also needed for the project.
There is a need to develop plans on the same principles and to be implemented at NARC. Some area (rainfed and irrigated) at NARC may be allocated to the project for implementing the plans. MOP project facilities (laboratory, computer, phone/fax, vehicle, field labs. etc.) may also be used in this regard. These facilities can be used for training and development.
Submitted for the kind approval.
(Dr. M. Ehsan Akhtar)
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