Punjab government started new project worth Rs6 billion for endorsing mechanization, usage of certified rice crop seeds and responsible application of pesticides according to the quantity prescribed by the agricultural experts.
Farmers will be given 50% subsidy on the purchase of certified rice seed under this project. Currently the department is pre-qualifying the seed companies in this regard. It is a complete package being given by the government to improve the productivity of the rice sector.
Director Agriculture (Extension) Gujranwala Javed Iqbal said while speaking at the MoU signing ceremony that this project is also aimed for promoting the use of transplanters for rising plant population in rice fields and extending subsidy on other agricultural implements.
Syngenta Pakistan and Atlas Foods limited signed an agreement to impart training to the rice growers regarding the need-based application of pesticides. The training will create awareness among the farmers to keep away from excessive usage of pesticides.
The director agriculture informed that the government will bear 50% of the cost on the usage of different types of machinery such as transplanters, nursery raising machines, DSR-drill, rice straw choppers, rotavators and power sprayers.
He added that the aim is to convert this sector from the present status of tractors into real mechanization.
Atlas Foods Limited CEO Samiullah Naeem said that 55% of Pakistan’s economy relies on agriculture and rice is one of the most important crops, which is earning foreign exchange for the country.
He said that monitoring of pesticides deposit in rice crop has been increased by the European Union (EU), USA and Saudi Arabia since the last three to four years.
He added that our products are going to high-end market and we have to keep the pesticide deposit at their required level.
He informed that unfortunately, pesticide deposit for the rice crop in Punjab is high but, in Sindh, it is very good. this is why paddy of Sindh is getting more price than Punjab.
Furthermore, the provincial agriculture department has divided the Punjab province into red, blue and green zones to highlight the areas where pesticide residue is high and need to be controlled. We have to stop wrong and excessive use of pesticides, as it is also dangerous for the growers.