STAFF REPORT KHI: With the introduction of modern agricultural techniques like tunnel farming the agriculture has started fast changing the cultivation practices in Pakistan especially in Punjab.
Tunnel farming, also adopted by neighbouring India, has the farmers of Punjab to reap more profits from the vegetable crops mainly grown in summer. Now the Punjab province has started witnessing a mushroom growth of the structures in the fields in its central districts of Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura, Lahore and Kasur where farmers now prefer to grow tomatoes, capsicum (shimla mirch), cucumbers, bitter gourd and okra.
Tunnel farming involves constructing tunnels like Greenhouses i.e. hut-like structures swathed in plastic that serve as cocoons for growing cucumber, tomato, pepper, carrot and lettuce etc. In addition to summer vegetables, production of strawberry inside tunnels has also become very popular in areas around Lahore in the recent years.
The idea of tunnel farming is to shield the crops from the elements and trap the heat of the sun, extending the growing season and increasing production. Tunnel farming operates on the principle that 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.
USAID and even local NGOs have also started providing financial assistance to the farmers of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.