Agriculture sector is the most important part of Pakistan’s economy. It accounts for 21% of the GDP and together with agro-based products fetches 80% of the country’s total exports earnings. More than 48% of the labour force is engaged in this sector. Punjab province holds the largest share in national agricultural production. Agriculture contributes in provision of raw materials to major industries e.g. textile, leather rice processing, edible oil, sugar and various food processing industries. Pakistan’s total export has three fourth share of agriculture and 60% of this share comes from Punjab. The mission of agriculture department is to discover procedures that will increase livestock and crop yields, improve farmland productivity through proper soil and water analysis, reduce loss due to disease and insects, prevention of spurious pesticides and fertilizers etc. ISO/IEC 17025:2005 is internationally recognized standard for the independent accreditation of laboratories. It specifies the requirements to develop management system for quality, administrative and technical operations of laboratories. It covers testing and calibration performed using standard methods, non-standard methods, and laboratory-developed methods. It is applicable to all organizations performing tests and /or calibrations. ISO/IEC 17025:2005 can be applied to all laboratories regardless of the number of personnel or the extent of the scope of testing and/or calibration activities. The international accreditation will enable the laboratories to generate technically valid results that would increase the confidence of farming community in the services of laboratories.
There is no doubt that laboratory plays vital role in determining the nutrient status of a soil and thus recommends the use of proper fertilizer in kind and quantity to boost up the yields of agricultural crops. Although the laboratories possesses basic infrastructure but did not had proper national and international accreditations to demonstrate their technical competence The laboratories are providing better quality analysis services to the farmers/target community at very nominal charges but want to further enhance standard of quality and service delivery.it is, therefore, imperative to upgrade these labs so that it can further improve its testing capability as per international requirement of ISO-17025.
Soil & Water Testing Laboratory, Data Ganj Baksh Road off Murree Road, Rawalpindi