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DAM-L SCOPE, TCDF to fight desertification (fwd)

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From: Right to Water <right-to-water@iatp.org>
To: dianne@sandelman.ottawa.on.ca
Subject: SCOPE, TCDF to fight desertification
Date: Sat, 28 Jul 2001 06:24:15 -0500
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Right to Water (right-to-water@iatp.org)    Posted: 07/28/2001  By  daima@brain.net.pk	

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SCOPE, TCDF to fight desertification

By our correspondent

KARACHI: The Society for Conservation and Protection of Nature (SCOPE) and
Terra Cotthem Dialogue Foundation (TCDF), working for the implementation of
UN convention to combat drought and desertification, reached an
understanding on a programme to promote the Terra Cotthem (TC) technology in

Two more demonstration sites, along with Gadap in District Malir, will be
applied with the TC technology in the Punjab and Balochistan, where farmers
can get practical knowledge on employment of the technology, it was learnt
on Friday. "The SCOPE and TCDF will also work together in providing training
to farmers and NGOs for best application of the TC to support agriculture
and forestry," SCOPE CEO Tanveer Arif informed.

A Belgian botanist and President TC Dialogue Foundation Prof Willem Van
Cotthem just concluded his four-day visit to Pakistan for establishing
formal co-operation between the TCDF and SCOPE, in order to combat with
drought and desertification in Pakistan, with the help of TC technology.

Prof Van Cotthem on Thursday last demonstrated application of the TC
technology at a farm in Gadap - an agricultural town situated 60 km in the
north-west of Karachi - facing severe drought and desertification. The SCOPE
and Kisan Committee are engaged in averting the drought through common
intervention such as water harvesting and water management.

Explaining about the TC, Prof Van Cotthem, a Belgian government expert in
the UN Convention to Combat Drought and Desertification (CCD), decoded the
TC as a water retaining soil conditioner, which presents excellent solution
to extreme water sacristy and poor soil. "As its components absorb water and
keep the necessary moisture in the root zone," he explained, "Other soil
conditioner and growth components keep the plant healthy and steady, through
a constant process of soil mineralisation."

Prof Van Cotthem said the TC is totally non-toxic for plants and humans,
having no negative environmental impact at all, but supports biodiversity by
keeping soil in moist, airy and active condition. Application of TC in
crops, plantation, grassy fields, forestry and horticulture might prove to
be very productive, he added.

"Even harsh deserts are being converted into oasis, such as deserts in China
and Cape Verde," Prof Van Cotthem added. "However in Europe and other rich
countries the TC is used for horticulture and sports fields to keep them
green and healthy."

Prof clarified that he was personally not involved in the commercial
promotion of TC technology, manufactured and marketed by a UK-based company,
but as the inventor of the TC and a campaigner against desertification, his
foundation was working on humanitarian projects in Africa, China, India and
other countries.

Asked about availability of the TC in Pakistan, he said the SCOPE would make
arrangement to import the TC and develop a distribution network in Pakistan.
He, however, opined that high import duties and taxes were the main
constraints in order to make the TC available at affordable price.

Tanveer Arif said his organisation would try to convince the government to
waive duties and taxes on the product so that farmer could get them at lower
costs to make dry areas green and productive. "No wonder that dry areas and
deserts of Pakistan may be converted into lush green and productive
agricultural and forest areas," he observed.

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