Second APSCO Symposium on Food Security and Monitoring of Agriculture Through Satellite Technology
21 ¨C 24 September 2010
Food Security is a vital issue being faced by the Asia Pacific region due to scarcity of resources and natural disasters. APSCO Second 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 in Islamabad, Pakistan from September 21 to 24, 2010 by Asia Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO) jointly with Pakistan Space and Upper Atmospheric Research Commission (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 developments, scientific breakthroughs and challenges in the area of Food Security and Monitoring of Agriculture through Satellite Technology. No doubt this symposium has provided an appropriate opportunity for exchange of information among scientists, engineers and experts coming from different parts of the Globe and Pakistan.
Honorable Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture, Mr Nazar Muhammad Gondal inaugurated the symposium on 21st September, 2010. While emphasizing on the importance of Seminar theme, he informed the audience that due to the sound agricultural policies of the Government of Pakistan and concerted efforts of the farmers, Pakistan was able to harvest record crops of wheat this year. The wheat stock in public sector is highest and would ensure food security in the coming year. While referring to the devastating floods of last month, he appreciated the efforts of SUPARCO for timely provision of much needed remote sensing data for damage assessment of crops thus helping in mitigation efforts. He emphasized on the need of fast track collection of quality agricultural data for making timely policy decisions.
Dr Zhang Wei, Secretary General of the Asia Pacific Space Cooperation Organization addressed the importance of food security and use of space technology for monitoring of agriculture. He also introduced Asia Pacific Space Cooperation Organization and its role in promoting and harnessing space technology for socio-economic growth of the Asia Pacific region. Education and training regarding space technology is an important area of focus for APSCO to enable nations of the Asia and the Pacific to exploit their resources by making effective use of space technology. He emphasized that though APSCO is very young but it has already started making impact for playing effective role in the region.
Major General Ahmad Bilal, Chairman SUPARCO, while welcoming the participants and the delegates from around the globe especially thanked the Honorable Minister for Food and Agriculture, Mr. Nazar Muhammad Gondal for having spared time to inaugurate the Symposium. While mentioning about the global economic slowdown, recent floods in Pakistan and other such calamities and the serious food crises they can cause, he emphasized on the development of early warning and response strategies using remote sensing technologies to minimize the damage.
The areas covered during three days 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 100 scientists and engineers from abroad and various organizations of Pakistan took part in the proceedings of the conference.
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 has played during current floods using space technology which were the worst in the recorded history.
Cultural visit to the Lok Virsa Musium 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 24th September 2010 in which Mr Zohair Bokhari, Director Satellite Ground Station, SUPARCO thanked the participants for their contributions. Dr Maqbool Ahmad Chaudhry, Director General, Strategic Planning and Program Management, APSCO in his concluding speech appreciated the deliberations by the participants and pointed out that their recommendations will go a long way in achieving APSCO's objective in providing space technology tools for the socio economic uplift of the Asia Pacific region. The symposium was closed after distribution of souvenirs and certificates among the participants by Mr Zohair Bokhari and Dr Maqbool Ahmad Chaudhry.
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