JAMSHORO: To mark World Food Day (WFD) with the theme “Water is Life, Water is Food. Leave no one behind,” the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in partnership with the Government, World Food Programme (WFP), International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and Oxfam GB, organized a riverbank cleanup near Kotri, Jamshoro in Sindh along the River Indus. Over 500 participants from universities, UN agencies, NGOs, government departments, farmers’ community and more collected and safely disposed of debris items, highlighting the vital role of clean water in agriculture and well-being.
World Food Day, celebrated annually promotes food system transformation. This year’s theme, underscores water’s crucial role in agriculture and community well-being. It aligns with the Living Indus Initiative, a collaboration between the Government of Pakistan and UN agencies addressing ecological health in the Indus River Basin in the face of climate challenges.
On this WFD, FAO Pakistan along with the Government and other UN agencies working in Pakistan is launching the “Clean Indus” campaign, focusing on water conservation and quality improvement to enhance food production. This campaign aims to raise awareness and inspire action to protect the Indus River.
Haji Khan Jamali Chief Engineer Sindh, Asadullah Khoso, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Jamshoro and Agha Fakher, Director General Food Authority Sindh while addressing the audience emphasized on the importance of water in agriculture, food production and food security. They highlighted that irrigation resources are depleting rapidly. We need to focus on repair and restoration of water resources for our future generation.
Representatives from farmers’ community, Zulfiqar Ali Kachelo and Naghma Naz shared the problems faced by the farmers’ community and importance of water. They told that water is vital for the farmers. They can survive with fertilizers and nutrients for their fields but it is impossible to survive without water.
Florence Rolle, FAO Representative in Pakistan highlighted the country’s agricultural significance, with its extensive irrigated land ranking it as the world’s third largest in this category. This underscores the relevance of the “Clean Indus” initiative in Pakistan.
The Indus River, a cultural and economic cornerstone of Pakistan, faces challenges such as glacier melting and pollution. The FAO’s “Clean Indus” campaign aims to raise awareness and drive collaborative action. It emphasizes the potential for ecosystem restoration, echoing success stories from other nation.
Coco Ushiyama, WFD Country Director, stressed water’s vital role in life and the impact of climate change and pollution. The World Food Programme supports the Clean Indus Drive to restore the Indus Basin ecosystem, ensuring water sources and food security.
In a 2023 UN report, Pakistan is among the 36 most water-stressed nations. Fernanda Thomaz da Rocha, IFAD Pakistan Country Director, called for wise water management, efficient food production, equitable water distribution, and aquatic food system preservation. Syed Shahnawaz Ali, Oxfam in Pakistan’s Country Director, highlighted water’s importance in the climate crisis, emphasizing the need for collective efforts across sectors.
Abdullah Fadil, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan, emphasized the interconnection of child malnutrition and safe drinking water. With Pakistan’s growing population and increasing pressure on water and food supplies, safeguarding these resources is crucial for addressing malnutrition and ensuring children’s health and cognitive development.
A series of similar events were also organized in all provinces of Pakistan to raise awareness of common masses about the vital role of water for our existence.