Ministry of National Food Security and Research has planned to introduce a pilot project of Solar Irrigation Pumping System in selected districts of Balochistan at an initial cost of Rs520 million.
Sources in the ministry said that Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Mir Israrullah Zehri would take the pilot project to his own province and introduce it in selected districts of Balochistan.
Major chunk of the project cost worth Rs492 million will be borne by the federal government and Rs28 million by the amers/beneficiaries. Under the project, as many as 190 solar pumps will be installed. According to the documents available with The Express Tribune, the objective of the project is bringing potential areas under cultivation, generating livelihood and improving the socio-economic conditions of the farmers/community. The water will be used for both irrigation and drinking purposes.
Lack of water severely constrains agricultural development in Balochistan, according to some reports only 1.5 million hectares of Balochistan’s 35 million hectares are under cultivation.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 2nd, 2012.