Fresh initiative to boost agriculture

Rs400 million allocated for multi-dimensional projects


APP September 05, 2019
A Reuters file photo of an agricultural field.

ISLAMABAD: In a fresh bid to boost the agriculture sector, the Balochistan government has initiated multi-dimensional projects to make the provincial industry profitable.

Talking to APP, spokesperson of the Balochistan government Liaquat Shahwani said the government will establish various joint fruits and vegetables processing laboratories and plants at Kila Saifullah, Naseerabad, Gwadar, Loralai and other districts.

He said around Rs400 million were allocated for the project. The specific objectives were to reduce the post-harvest losses by increasing the shelf life of fruits and vegetables.

Talking about providing incentives to the farmers, the spokesman mentioned that the government is working on improving road communication, to provide easy access to the farming community from fields to the markets.

Emphasising efficient management of fruits and vegetables to conserve commodities for a longer period, Shahwani said that despite producing millions of tonnes of fruits annually, the farmers could not get appropriate output due to lack of proper processing facilities.

“The provincial government is making a strategy to introduce local fruits in the international markets,” he added.

In order to improve the underground water level, the spokesman declared that the government is working in collaboration with the capital to build more small dams at a cost of Rs5 billion.

Moreover, work on the expansion of Kachhi and Patfeeder canals is also expedited to resolve the water issue in the province.  Around 3,000 tube wells will be converted to solar energy, the spokesman informed the state news agency.

Shahwani mentioned that a large area linked with agriculture was affected due to long-lasting, serious drought-like situation in the province. The government will be providing farmland sprinkler irrigation equipment to the farmers of 16 drought-stricken districts to compensate for the losses, explained the spokesman.

Rs1,870 million is the estimated cost of the project which will also include revolving sprinkler irrigation system and perforated pipe system.

The government has also purchased 20 bulldozers to pave the land for cultivation of local farmers.

“Under the prime minister’s vision of clean and green Pakistan, Balochistan government has planted 25 million saplings across the province,” Shahwani said.

According to the government spokesman, around 150,000 olive saplings were planted in the province this year.

Meanwhile, a green tractor scheme will also be launched at a cost of Rs250 million and at least 300 tractors will be distributed among small farmers soon.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th, 2019.

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