Pakistani farmers like many old civilizations are confronted with a dilemma of steady decline in productivity of their fertile land due to salinization, after witnessing an exorbitant rise in crop yields following development of canal irrigation system in the country. They see their houses crumbling, harvest shrinking, health declining and their miseries increasing the phenomenon, being a consequence of salinization of their lands. The poverty alleviation of this lot of farmers depends on how quickly and efficiently we may respond to the challenge of improving crop yields on lands affected by salinity and drought on sustained basis.
In recent years there has been an increasing recognition of the importance of options for “living with salinity”. Many now realize that we really don’t have a choice between ‘salinity’ and ‘no salinity’ but that we do have a choice between being prepared and unprepared for salinity.
“Saline Agriculture” uses saline lands to provide an income for the farmers without the need for expansive drainage and reclamation work. The worst land grows economically important salt tolerant trees and shrubs, while on moderately saline land; cultivation of tolerant field crops can increase income.
UniversitySaline Agriculture Research Centre (SARC) has an important goal to produce salt tolerant plants especially cereals through conventional and modern genetic tools and demonstrate the success through farmers’ participatory programs, for making productive use of saline resources for owners and the nation.
We are trying to improve our understanding of natural and agricultural ecosystems and to develop new plant based land use systems that lessen the economic, environmental and social impact of salinity.
- Screening of the germplasm for salinity tolerance available at National and International sources.
- Selection and cultivation of salt tolerant genotypes of crops, grasses, shrubs and trees.
- Testing the effectiveness of Saline Agriculture technology at the farmers’ field conditions.
- Socio-economic impact of adaptation of Saline Agriculture Technology by the farmers.
- Human resource development.
Saline Agriculture Research Centre is the pioneer institute meant for the development and advancement of ‘Saline Agriculture’ in Pakistan. SARC was established at University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan in 1987, under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Riaz Hussain Qureshi (Pride of Performance), keeping in view the importance and scope of ‘Saline Agriculture’ in Agro–environmental conditions of Pakistan. The establishment of SARC at UAF boosted the work on Saline Agriculture and scientists at SARC accomplished many projects independently and in collaboration with various national and international organizations like ODA (Dfid), BOSTID (USA), ACIAR (Australia), AusAID, UNDP, IWASRI and PARC