Experts at a panel discussion organized by Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and Nestlé Pakistan, agreed on the need for innovative irrigation solutions to improve agricultural productivity through efficient water management and modern irrigation methods. The discussion was aligned with this year’s World Water Week theme focusing on innovative solutions for a water-wise world.
Former Senator and Minister Irrigation, Punjab, Mr. Mohsin Leghari emphasized that stakeholders must collaborate on innovative solutions specific to Pakistan’s agriculture challenges. “In light of climate change, increasing food security issues, and considering we are an agrarian economy, it is imperative to improve agricultural productivity through efficient water management and modern irrigation methods.”
Highlighting Nestlé’s flagship Caring for Water-Pakistan (C4W-Pakistan) initiative, Sheikh Waqar Ahmad, Head of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, Nestlé Pakistan said, “C4W-Pakistan is a blueprint for gauging collective action and has three pillars: factories, communities, and agriculture. Nestlé has so far made significant progress in all domains, specifically in agriculture by assisting farmers to shift to drip irrigation on 139 acres, and installing Smart Soil Moisture Sensors on 548 acres in Punjab. Drip irrigation is currently being scaled up in Sindh.”
“We launched the Waters Pledge in 2021 under which our Waters Business has committed to lead regeneration of water cycle to create positive impact by 2025. We have helped regenerate 58% of the water volume used by our waters business in 2022, and are on track to meet our Waters Pledge,” he added sharing Nestlé’s commitments that are in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 6, 13 and 17.
Dr. Abu Bakr Muhammad, Director Center for Water Informatics & Technology (WIT), LUMS, emphasized on putting water at the core of action plans and policy. He said, “There is an urgent need for communities, companies and governments to come up with innovative solutions to secure water that can help maintain the balance between people and nature.” He further added that LUMS and Nestlé’s synergy in this domain was an example for others to adopt.
The session was moderated by Dr. Zehra Waheed, Associate Dean for Academics, LUMS and other notable speakers, including Business Executive Officer – Nestlé Waters Abdullah Jawaid, Member Committee on Water Issues in Islamabad Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, environmental journalist Zofeen Ebrahim, water expert Imran Saqib Khalid, owner Sukeki Farms Sultan Ahmed Bhatti, all stressed the urgency of advanced irrigations methods as part of water stewardship.
Since more than 90% of Pakistan’s water resources are used in agriculture, farmers need assistance to shift to drip irrigation to reduce water wastage, and stakeholders need to work collectively towards innovative solutions by linking together practice, science, policy and decision-making. Organized between 20th and 24th this year, World Water Week highlights the global water challenges and explores new ways of managing water and focuses on the ways we value water.