Speakers In Seminar Stresses On Use Of Modern Techniques To Increase Rice Production
Speakers in a seminar on ‘Rice Value Chain and Irrigation’ urge the farmers to use modern agriculture tools in rice farming for increasing its per acre yield.
Rice was the major staple food for more than half of the world population and a source of employment, income and livelihood for millions of people, Minister for Agriculture, Punjab Malik Nauman Ahmad Langrial said while addressing a seminar on “Rice Value Chain and Role of Public and Private-Partnership” here on Sunday.
The seminar was organized by Rice Partners Limited (RPL) in collaboration with Mars food and Helvetas Swiss Inter cooperation in Muridke, said a press release issued.
Addressing the seminar, the minister for agriculture said the provincial government was committed to resolve the issues of rice farmers.
He said agriculture was the backbone of the country’s economy,”we are focusing to evolve a comprehensive agriculture policy for increasing the yield of all major crops including rice in the country.” The provincial minister said Pakistan was at number 7 among the most water-scarce countries and it had to face deficiency of water by 33 Million Acre Feet (MAF) if new reservoirs were not constructed.
He further added that, “we have to develop an action plan and implement it in true spirit so that the farmers could produce the rice with minimum use of water without any yield or quality penalty.” Project Director, Rice Partners Limited (RPL) Zafar Iqbal said RPL was the only organization in Pakistan, which had started smart farming program and introduced digital farmer card.
These cards would help the farmers to get quality pesticides, fertilizers, and agri-loans on discounted rates from different retailers.
Country Director Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation, Dr. Arjumand Nizami said there was a dire need to start a dialogue between all the rice stakeholders to design a pragmatic action plan for ensuring national rice food security and its sustainability so that a considerable sect of the society could be economically protected.
He said presently irrigation system was being implemented through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) due to inefficiency of the public sector.
The PPP is better approach due to public sector financing and efficiency of private sector.
Dr Nizami said the rice millers should follow the Water Productivity (WAPRO) model of RPL to reduce the consumption of water and to enhance the productivity of water.
Director Rice Research Institute Kala Shah Kaku, Dr. Muhammad Sabir said modern mechanical harvesting of basmati rice varieties at the premature stage was common, leading to increased post-harvest losses and infestation of microbial organisms in the paddy due to improper drying and storage facilities.
More than 1000 farmers, rice millers, academia Govt officials from the relevant departments attended the event. Hundreds of farmers and many rice millers attended the seminar.