PESHAWAR: The Agriculture Department has introduced a new technology- ‘Raised Bed Planting (RBP)’ in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to enhance wheat production in the province.
Dr Murad Ali, Deputy Director Planning Agriculture Research Extensions told APP on Friday the Department has developed a five-row sophisticated ‘Wheat Bed Planting Machine’ that would plant wheat on 90 cm bed- furrow system on fast track.
“The new technology will enable farmers to get 25pc more wheat production from a single acre land beside saving water for tail end growers on canals and watercourses in the province,” he informed.
Under 100 days plan of KP Govt, he said, a comprehensive mechanism has been chalked out to provide said machines to farmers at an affordable rate for which a mega incentive package was prepared.
Seminars, workshops and field trainings would also be arranged by agriculture extension specialists to train and educate farmers about utility and operations of the sophisticated machine.
“The research results have shown a minimum impact of lodging in raised bed planting compared to wheat sown by a flat method,’ he said.
Moreover, raised bed planting method has registered about 25% increase in grain yield over that of flat-sowing methods, he maintained.
He said 40 to 50% saving in irrigation water was recorded with bed planting of wheat in comparison with flood irrigation system.
Dr Murad said Pakistan is a water-starved country and this new technology is extremely important to save water by facilitating end farmers.
He said around 1.8million acres areas in KP are under wheat cover that would be significantly increase with implementation of this new technology.
He said 22pc area of KP is under certified seed that would be increased to 40 pc in the next five years.
“KP economy is mainly agrarian in nature and 80 pc of its population lives in rural areas with agriculture are their main source of livelihood,” he said.
He said about 94pc of the farmers are small having an average land of below five hectares due to land fragmentation and rapid conversation of fertile agriculture land in residential colonies.
He said the agriculture sector contributes 22% to KP’s GDP, however, 31% of KP’s population is food insecure with a high rate of malnourishment.
To address the problem of food insecurity and malnourishment, he said agriculture department has prepared a gigantic agriculture package worth Rs17,573 million to facilitate farmers, growers, beekeepers, horticulturists besides promoting extension activities for benefits of people over next five years.
The main components of the mega package to be covered under the plan over a period of next five years included incentive plans for cereals, horticulturists, sugarcane growers, agri extension activities, agriculture marketing produce, addition in fruits vegetable and processing, he said.
Under the package, he said, Rs4,600 million incentives were announced for cereals with the main component of wheat and rice commodities that would benefit around six lakh farmers in the province.