Punjab Agriculture Secretary, Muhammad Mahmood urged agriculture experts to find solutions to increase farm yield and help solve problems faced by farmers keeping in view new challenges. Muhammad Mahmood was chairing a meeting of University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) and attended by the vice-chancellor Professor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan and all deans and directors of UAF.
He said ‘High Efficiency Irrigation System’ is not taking off in the country and sought opinion of agriculture experts to make it a success story. He said, they were launching an interest-free loans scheme for the farming community under which Rs 25,000 loan will be granted in the Rabi season and Rs 40,000 for the Kharif season and added that in the future, increases in per acre yield would be linked to the loans.
A huge gap between the yield of progressive and ordinary farmers exists, and added, that awareness and affordability of modern farming methods will help small farmers increase yield and for this they will soon be using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to disseminate agriculture related information which would include weather forecasts, market news, and know-how on input and seed use etc, to enable farmers increase per acre yield.
He said, the government had currently reduced farm input prices by 17 percent and also waived General Sales Tax (GST) on pesticides and hopefully in the future there will be further reduction of input prices to benefit farmers he added.
Punjab Agriculture Secretary further said, the government was planning to establish Agri Hi Tech Machinery Service Centre and directed the UAF to draw business plans in this regard.
He further mentioned, that cotton yield deteriorated in the fields due to stagnant rain water owing to a lack of proper drainage. He also urged UAF scientists to devise strategies for agricultural problems, policy making and rural development issues.
He highlighted, that the government was working on drip irrigation system on 20,000 acres run on solar energy and farmers will pay only 20 percent cost and stressed upon the need to devise a strategy to fight the mealybug pest and other crop diseases in order to increase yield.
UAF vice-chancellor Professor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said that cotton yield was down since the last 20 years due to climate change. He said that the UAF had developed a short duration of cotton variety called PB 896 this year, and ten varieties of mango with excellent aroma and taste.
He said that citrus greening was heavily damaging the citrus crops and steps were being taken by UAF to control the disease. He said that the UAF Department of Entomology was leading the Punjab Dengue Programme. He said that the UAF was the only institutions in the country which was is ranked in the top 100 universities of the country.
Source: Business Recorder