The Inter Islamic Network on Information Technology (INIT) in collaboration with the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) and the PMAS Arid Agriculture University (PMAS-AAUR), Rawalpindi is organizing a Regional Training Workshop on ‘GIS for Agricultural Monitoring’ on March 28 - 30, 2016 at Rawalpindi, Pakistan. The Workshop was inaugurated on March 28, 2016 by Prof. Dr. Rai Niaz Ahmad, Vice Chancellor PMAS-AAUR, Pakistan. Honorable Members from Punjab Provincial Assembly, Raja Muhammad Hanif, Malik Iftikhar were the guests of honor in the inaugural session of the Workshop. The Workshop was participated by the agricultural scientists, policy makers, GIS & remote sensing analysts, researchers, faculty members and students from Sudan, Morocco, Iran, Algeria and Pakistan.
Prof. Dr. Rai Niaz Ahmad, Vice Chancellor PMAS-AAUR, in his address said that food security is one of the major challenges for the world. He emphasized that sustainable agricultural land usage critically depends on continuous assessment and monitoring of agricultural processes. To reduce the threat of temporary imbalances between food supply and demand, it requires 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 congratulated the organizers for taking lead and organizing workshop on one of the very important areas.
In his opening address, Engr. Tahir Naeem, Executive Director, INIT stated that despite the fact that most of the Islamic countries rely on ‘agriculture’ as the mainstay of their economies and that a bulk of the labor force is employed in the agricultural sector, they heavily rely on food imports. Deploying technology to increase the labor productivity can bring in a sea of change in the earnings, autonomy, social emancipation and hence the quality of life among the citizenry in the Islamic world. The Executive Director INIT also expressed that the Network is happy to be a part of this Workshop where the dissemination of information is accompanied by a hands-on training on GIS applications in agriculture monitoring. Finally he presented his gratitude to the PMAS-Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi and ISESCO in being the key collaborators with INIT for the regional training Workshop and assured his continued support to the initiative.
Dr. Aicha Bammoun, Representative of ISESCO and Dr Mobushir Riaz Khan Workshop Focal Person in their addresses comprehensively enlightened the features of remote sensing and GIS as reliable means of collecting information on crop monitoring and damage assessment, crop growth modeling, crop production estimation and yield gap analysis.
In the three days workshop participants will be provided with an excellent opportunity for the use of satellite imagery, remote sensing and GIS applications as tool at various scales to assess the evolution of vegetation cover. The workshop will 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 characterization of these lands (agriculture, forests, pastures etc.).
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