Experts call for a common platform to promote judicious use of halophytes for food

Karachi, January 10, 2019 (PPI-OT): The three-day long second international conference on Sustainable Development: Halophytes for Green Revolution concluded with a round-table discussion, in which UNESCO experts and renowned local and foreign scientists participated and give several recommendations for betterment of the society.

They suggested that a society should be made, which would function as a common platform to promote the judicious use of halophytes for food, biofuel, landscaping, combating climate change and coastal management.

Meanwhile, they think that all possible means such as social, print and electronic media should be used to disseminate benefits of the halophyte utilization among masses and policymakers.

They also urged to organize follow-up meetings on regular basis to promote these objectives by gathering other stakeholder working in the areas of saline agriculture. Earlier, a day-long trip was arranged to coastline of the metropolis where local and foreign experts under the supervision of the Vice Chancellor of University of Karachi Professor Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan study mangroves and other halophyte plants and collected samples for examinations at their respective laboratories.

The Institute of Sustainable Halophyte Utilization (ISHU) of the University of Karachi (KU) has organized the event at the Karachi University Business School (KUBS), KU, from January 07 (Monday) till January 09, Wednesday.

Meanwhile, one of the expert, Dr. Benno Boer from UNESCO Thailand informed audience of the conference about long-term commitment of UNESCO for sustainable development in the developing countries of the world.

He said that UNESCO office in Thailand considers currently barren saline wastelands and salty water as resource for future to end hunger. Waste acreage of saline land can be turned into green pastures with the help of halophyte cultivation, which would not only improve environment but also support livestock industry.

He further aid that he has a long-time collaboration with the ISHU and is impressed by the achievements of this institute in the field of halophyte biology and utilization. He praised the organizers of the conference and declared it need of the time to combat global climate change and fight hunger.

Another speaker, Dr. Ali El-keblawy, Professor of Environmental Sciences in the Sharjah University presented research outcomes of his team and shared the idea of using halophytes for greenification and landscaping in the arid world.

He highlighted many examples of halophytes which hold immense potential as horticulture and landscaping plants. These plants can be cultivated along roads and highways within and among cities without using freshwater, where they can help in improving environment, he said. However, he stressed on the use of local flora for this purpose, as introduction of non-native plants from other countries may seriously damage the ecosystem.

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