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Rs 26b embarked mechanization, seed uplift of major crops: DG Agri

Dr Muhammad Anjum says we should grow vegetables in lawns instead of flowers

Our Special Correspondent

LAHORE: The Punjab Agriculture Department in collaboration with the
the Federal Government is embarking upon an ambitious programme worth
Rs 26 Billion to promote mechanization and seed replacement for three
major crops.

These three crops are Rice, Wheat and Sugarcane while the project also
includes promoting oilseeds, in addition to research for improving the
productivity to make crop sector profitable for the socio-economic
uplift of rural masses.

This program is aimed at providing all the necessary relief and
innovation to the farmers to increase per acre yield, bringing down
the cost of production and ensuring a suitable return to their hard
work.

This was stated by the Director-General Agriculture (Extension) Punjab
Dr. Muhammad Anjum Ali while talking to a delegation of the
Agriculture Journalists Association (AJA) in his office the other day.
Dr. Muhammad Anjum Ali to a question also explained the strength of
agriculture in its historical perspective in this region.

Anjum continued that we import Rs 22 billion worth seed if vegetables,
oilseeds, fodders and other minor crops but produce wheat, cotton,
sugarcane and basmati seeds locally, however, the loose implementation
of Seed Act 1976 amended is a major hurdle to provide quality seed to
the farmers. He also lamented on the almost nil implementation of
Section 22 H of seed act which guaranteed the provision of true to
type certified fruit plants. DGA said that adoption of certified seed
is very low and farmers are not paying attention to wheat seed
replacement despite the fact that it is our staple food and the
biggest crop. National Projects on major crops are addressing this
vital issue to supply certified seed at subsidies prices.

Talking on Urban Agriculture forcefully advocated the idea of
promoting this concept and said that we should grow vegetables in
lawns instead of flowers. Anyone who has a house over two kanals
should be asked to grow food for his own consumption as he is
occupying the almost equal size of per capita availability of
cultivated land left in Punjab Province. He also supported the idea of
growing fruit-bearing trees comparable to ecoregion instead of simple
trees during the tree plantation campaign to target the lungs and
stomach at the same time with a target on malnutrition as well.

Throwing light on projects, he said that for wheat a comprehensive
project of slightly over Rs 12.5 billion has been chalked out while
another Rs 3 billion will be shared by the farmers coming under its
umbrella. It will be a five-year plan in which 60 per cent will be
given by the provincial government and 40 per cent by the federal
government. It is designed for increasing the yield and bringing down
the input cost. Promotion of sowing of certified seed and provision of
wheat planters and other agricultural implements.

In Rice the department aimed at to make paddy a profitable crop for
the farmers by enhancing yield under a project worth Rs 6.327 billion.
It is aimed at promoting mechanization such as rice transplanters.
Similarly, there is a project worth Rs 2.048 billion for sugarcane
with the same objectives.

To decrease our dependence on import of edible oil, the department is
taking up a project worth Rs 5.115 billion to give subsidy to growers
on sowing oilseed crops, promoting sesame, sunflower, canola etc.

Replying to another question, he said that all the future development
programmes are being devised keeping in view the climatic changes. He
also said that all the programmes are being chalked out with the
consultation of stakeholders such as Rice Exporters Association and
Sugar Millers. He said that it will help to carry out market-oriented
research.

He said that providing insurance coverage and ‘Kissan Cards’ to small
growers is another revolutionary step taken by the government.

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