Food Security is a vital issue being faced by the Asia-Pacific Region due to scarcity of resources and natural disasters. The Second APSCO International Symposium on Food Security and Monitoring of Agriculture through Satellite Technology was organized to address this issue with a specific emphasis on food security and use of space technology for monitoring of agriculture. This Symposium was organized from 21 to 24 September 2010 in Islamabad, Pakistan by APSCO Secretariat jointly with SUPARCO.
The principal objective of this Symposium was to bring together academia, research & development organizations, public and private industries to focus on the current and future development, scientific breakthroughs and challenges in the area of food security and monitoring of agriculture through satellite technology. No doubt this Symposium provided an appropriate opportunity for exchange of information among scientists, engineers and experts from different parts of the Globe and Pakistan.
Honorable Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture, Mr. Nazar Muhammad Gondal inaugurated the Symposium. He emphasized on the importance of Seminar theme and the need of fast track collection of quality agricultural data for making timely policy decisions. Dr. Zhang Wei, Secretary-General of the APSCO Secretariat, addressed the importance of food security and use of space technology for monitoring of agriculture. He also introduced the APSCO and its role in promoting and harnessing space technology for socio-economic growth of the Asia-Pacific Region. He emphasized that though APSCO is very young, it has already started making impact for playing effective role in the region.
Major General Ahmad Bilal, Chairman of SUPARCO welcomed the participants and the delegates from around the globe. He emphasized on the development of early warning and response strategies using remote sensing technologies to minimize the damage.
The areas covered during three-day deliberations of the symposium were:
• Use of Space Technology for Food Security from Global Perspective
• Crop Estimation
• Space Technology for Monitoring of Agriculture
• Water Resource Management
• Food Security
Papers received on these topics were arranged in six Oral Sessions. Four keynote lectures and eighteen contributory talks were delivered. Around a hundred scientists and engineers from abroad and various organizations of Pakistan took part in the proceedings of the Symposium.
Banquet Dinner hosted by SUPARCO brought Pakistani cuisine in ambiance of cultural musical tones and enthralled the participants.
Technical visit was an eye opener for the participants about the critical role SUPARCO had played during 2010 Pakistan floods using space technology which were the worst in the recorded history. Cultural visit to the Lok Virsa Museum and Pakistan Monument provided opportunity to the participants to witness diversity and richness of culture being enjoyed by the Indus Valley Civilization.
Concluding session was organized on 24 September 2010 in which Mr. Zohair Bokhari, Director of Satellite Ground Station of SUPARCO thanked the participants for their contributions. Dr. Maqbool Ahmad Chaudhry, Director-General, Department of Strategic Planning and Program Management of APSCO Secretariat in his concluding speech, appreciated the deliberations by the participants and pointed out that their recommendations would go a long way in achieving the objective of APSCO in providing space technology tools for the socio-economic uplift of the Asia-Pacific Region.