MULTAN: Tunnel farming is a profitable business but many farmers using this technique are not properly familiar with it.
This technique is more productive than traditional agriculture. Muhammad Shaukat, who introduced tunnel farming in 1995 in the country, said this while speaking at a seminar tilted “New Trends in Tunnel Farming.” The event was held at Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture (MNSUA) on Friday.
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He said several farmers were associated with tunnel farming but, unfortunately, they could not get proper access to information about it. “We have arranged a training session for farmers at the farm to facilitate them,” he said.
He added that farmers could get good profit by tunnel farming besides using less fertilisers and spray.
On the occasion, MNSUA VC Dr Asif Ali said famers could get good profit by this technique of farming. He said the seminar was meant to attract farmers towards tunnel farming.
He said the Punjab government had announced to extend subsidy on this business which was a positive step.
Faculty of Agriculture Dean Dr Ishtiaq Rajwana said famers could gain more profit by tunnel farming if they used lesser quantity of chemical for the technique.
Tunnel farming is a low-tech procedure that helps farmers in Punjab to reap more profits from the vegetable crops that are mainly grown in summer. In recent years, tunnel farming has gained popularity in various districts of Punjab, including Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura, Lahore and Kasur, Gujranwala, Arifwala, Vehari, Mailsi, Faisalabad, Jhang, Multan and Rahim Yar Khan.
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Farmers in Punjab have started adopting the technique to boost yield and produce high quality vegetables. This technique involves constructing tunnels like greenhouses i.e. hut-like structures with plastic that serve as cocoons for growing.
Tunnel farming operates on the principle of creating summer-like conditions during winter. The vegetables sown in summer are then cultivated in these tunnels during winter. The entire farming area is covered by transparent polythene sheath fixed over D-shaped bamboos or steel pipes. The soil is also covered with black coloured polythene sheath with small holes in which the seeds are sown.
According to an estimate, tunnel farming covers more than 200,000 acres of land in Punjab. In June 2015, the Punjab government signed a cooperation deal with a Turkish firm that envisages Turkish support in five specific areas of agriculture, including tunnel farming.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 14th, 2017.
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