Oxfam celebrates WFD at Arid Agriculture University

ISLAMABAD: Participants at a seminar and awareness walk at the Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University on Tuesday called on policymakers to make investments to improve people’s resilience to climate change.

The seminar was part of the activities being organized by Oxfam in Pakistan to celebrate GROW week to raise awareness about climate change, food insecurity and the importance of agriculture and rural development.

Speaking at the occasion, Oxfam in Pakistan Programmes Director, Javeria Afzal said “Climate change and food insecurity across the world is impacting poor people’s access to healthy and nutritious food. In a world of plenty, many are forced to migrate to earn more to feed themselves and their dependents.”

The day’s activities, which were organized by Indus Consortium with support from Oxfam, began with an awareness walk and tree plantation. The university’s Vice Chancellor and Dean joined faculty members and students in a walk and carried placards and banners demanding action on climate change. The participants also planted trees at the university campus to raise awareness about the dangers of deforestation.

The Chief Guest, Prof. Dr. Sarwat N. Mirza , Pro-vice Chancellor of Pir Mehr Ali shah, Arid Agriculture University said that world food event reminds us that Pakistan is also an agriculture based economy which is backbone of the country. He said it is encouraging that jointly organized development initiatives of academia and private sector are moving towards the cumulative agenda of the development. He asked the young researchers to take the challenge of quality research and develop a vital link with rural communities and come with new climate resilient solutions.

Following the walk and tree plantation, participants headed to the university auditorium for the seminar which included a theatre performance and documentary screening. Utilizing creative forces to raise awareness about increasing food insecurity, students presented a play. A short animation and a documentary produced by Oxfam was also screened to highlight the resilience of small-holder farmers in the face of insidious changes in temperature and patterns of rainfall as well as increased frequency of floods and droughts.

Winners of a blog competition, held over the last week, were presented prizes by the Vice-Chancellor. The winning blogs will be published on the websites of Oxfam and Indus Consortium. Mr Hussain Jarwar, National Coordinator Indus Consortium said that rural women are not considered as women farmer in the framework of agriculture. He said, “although entire families in the agriculture sector play a key role in livestock rearing, fodder collection, and labor but they are not recognized as farmers.”

Ms. Afzal said that Oxfam’s food security programme addresses the global sustainable development goals of zero hunger and climate action with the aim to end all forms of hunger and help mitigate climate-related disasters by 2030. She called upon policy makers to formulate pro-poor policies to help people adapt to climate change and increasing food insecurity.