LAHORE: The Punjab Agriculture Department is planning to boost gram cultivation in Thar, Bhakkar, Layyah and other areas through drip irrigation system.
A spokesperson for the agriculture department said chickpea (gram) was cultivated best with drip irrigation system. Therefore, the provincial government was promoting drip irrigation in Thar, Khushab, Bhakkar, Layyah, Muzaffargarh, Jhang and Mianwali areas where the government of Punjab has announced 75% subsidy on installation of drip irrigation system.
Gram is a major Rabi pulse crop in Pakistan. It is cultivated in areas after rain and floods. It is a short-duration crop and can be grown between September and November. The best time for sowing is the second week of October. Being a leguminous crop, it is well suited under dry tracks. It requires winter climate conditions and is allergic to frost. In normal condition, the gram matures within four months or a little later.
After reaching the maturity stage, a gram plant cannot stand heavy rains or hail storm. The crop demand rainy condition but it can be grown in less-irrigated areas also. The crop is heat-resistant and flourishes under good moisture condition. It can bear drought condition due to long taproot which allows using water from great depths than other pulses. It tolerates acidity but is sensitive to salinity and alkalinity. It has the ability to stick to 60%-80% of its nitrogen requirement and excessive nitrogen fertiliser may delay maturity.
The spokesperson disclosed that through drip irrigation, not only water saving would be enhanced but also the yield of the gram would be enhanced in these areas.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 10th, 2018.