KARACHI: With organic food and products all the rage the world over, the Sindh government has decided to help local farmers ‘worm’ their way into that market.
The Sindh agriculture department is taking steps to introduce vermicomposting – the use of worms to convert organic waste into fertiliser – as a more sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to the existing practice of using chemical fertilisers to grow crops.
Fertiliser obtained using vermicomposting processes is believed to help enrich soil, increase crop yields and suppress plant disease. The Sindh agriculture department hopes the move will not only create greater business opportunities for small-scale farmers but will also benefit consumers by providing agricultural products free of chemical fertilisers.
Flagged under the Sindh Benazir Hari Programme, the new project will not only reduce the impact of chemical fertilisers on agricultural products but will also control the amount of chemical fertilisers seeping into underground water.
The project will also offer abundant quantities of herbal products to consumers, including aloe vera paste, grape vinegar, bottle-gourd juice, and bitter gourd juice, to name a few.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Director General Agriculture Extension Sindh Hidayatullah Chhajro, said that the Sindh Agriculture Department will launch the programme soon, adding that Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has also been briefed about the project.
Initially, the project will be initiated in two districts of Sindh before expanding to other districts of the province.
The government has allocated Rs500 million to the project, which will run for two years and will mainly serve two purposes. First, it will help promote agriculture-based household factories in rural Sindh, and secondly, it will offer pure agricultural products to consumers dwelling in urban areas. That apart, the project will create more job opportunities in Sindh.
Under the project, the Sindh government will also build solar-powered cold storage where farmers will be able to preserve fresh fruits and vegetables.
In addition to that, the government will also ensure the provision of machinery required by farmers for the preparation of agricultural products.
Similarly, marketing and advertising campaigns will also be launched to promote the products.
The Sindh Agriculture Department will also organise weekly markets on a district level to help farmers sell their products.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2019.