‘Drip Irrigation System’ is helping farmers in Pakistan with better yield and saving water

This system has not only allowed him and farmers to reduce water usage by 60% but has also reduced the amount of fertilizer by washing away less.

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A drip irrigation system, supported by a government initiative is the new water-saving method that is helping farmers grow crops in areas where seasonal rain is no longer a reliable resource.

“Drip irrigation has come as a divine help to me in this arid area,” Obaid ur Rehman, a 56-year-old farmer said. He elaborated upon his keen interest in growing water-hungry cucumbers and capsicum peppers in an arid area of eastern Pakistan.

The system enables the delivery of water in small amounts only where needed. Rehman says it has been useful in achieving higher yields on his farm situated near Mari, Punjab compared to the flood-irrigated lands which he owns elsewhere in the same province.

This system has not only allowed him and farmers to reduce water usage by 60% but has also reduced the amount of fertilizer by washing away less.

Mr. Rehman is one of the many farmers that are gradually turning to water-efficient means of farming and irrigation which in the opinion of agricultural experts, supports yields and better outcomes during harvesting.

“A nine-year government effort to cut water waste, launched in 2012-2013, has so far helped 7,000 small-scale farmers make the move to water-efficient irrigation,” said Malik Muhammad Akram, head of the Punjab Agriculture Department’s water management program.

Agriculture now contributes to about one-fifth of Pakistan’s GDP, according to a study published last year by the World Bank, but experts also warn the changing patterns of monsoon to be a threat to rain-fed farms in arid areas.

The drawbacks are there, however, one being that it is costly.

“Farmers who grow low-value crops also struggle to afford water-efficient irrigation systems, even with government subsidies,” said Pervaiz Amir, director of the Pakistan Water Partnership (PWP), a non-governmental organization. “But installing the systems can allow farmers to grow higher-value crops that bring in more income”, he added.

He also emphasized that the worth of Pakistan’s industry is somewhere around $50 billion which can be increased if farmers opt for water-efficient means of farming, irrigation, and better-earning crops. However, he added that the government’s help is also crucial to create better access to export markets.

VIA: ARAB NEWS

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