As one of its key priorities, CABI under the Action on Invasives programme aims to raise awareness about the threat of invasive species with the relevant government departments in Pakistan. In particular to address the issue of the highly invasive Parthenium weed. Through public awareness campaigns and sharing invasive management advice for better control practices, CABI wants to ensure communities are aware of this aggressive weed and its effects on agriculture and health.
To that end, CABI organized a one-day Training of Trainers workshop with the aim of ensuring that key stakeholders were not only fully aware of the threats of Parthenium but also how to manage it.
A number of departments covering everything from extension and rural support to livestock, fisheries, and forests and wildlife, from across the country (Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Sindh) took part in the training.
Participants learnt in detail about the identification and management of Parthenium including how to differentiate it from other weeds, plus its impacts on crops, livestock and human health. As well as Parthenium, other harmful invasive species which could be present in Pakistan were outlined. Parthenium is only one of many invasive species and it’s an important stepping stone for considering how to tackle other invasive threats to Pakistan.
The trainees took a deep interest and asked a range of different questions followed by an engaged discussion. At the end of training, materials such as booklets, leaflets, and audio-video resources were provided to facilitate further training sessions in their regions, thereby extending outreach.
The workshop was inaugurated by chief guests including Dr. M. Anjum Ali – Director General Agriculture (Extension & Adaptive Research) Punjab, who highlighted the extensive damage caused by parthenium to Pakistan’s crops, environment and its harmful effects for livestock and human health. He appreciated the efforts of CABI to highlight this important issue.
In the first session a brief overview of CABI’s global Action on Invasives programme was given, highlighting the importance of the work and informing the participants how it is improving lives of rural poor across the globe through an environmentally sustainable and regional approach to biological invasions.
Trainers also discussed pilot activities in Sheikhupura and Islamabad where CABI has been running awareness campaigns. Covering 438 villages, farmers in the region were given training on Partenium identification and management. In Islamabad CABI set up stalls in two of the city’s major parks, reaching around 2,000 passers-by.
CABI is continuing to run mass awareness campaigns both in person and online in Pakistan raising awareness about this noxious weed and ways to manage it safely.