In a step towards adopting modern technology, the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) has introduced an e-farming system – the first of its kind in Pakistan – to educate the farmers and help them obtain maximum yield and profits.
The project will be functional in all districts of Punjab, where farmers can contact agriculture experts, researchers and analysts to receive advice on extracting better yield of crops.
A recent survey by the Punjab e-farming department has found the average wheat yield at only 23 maunds per acre – less than half of the world average.
“Through e-farming, the yield can be enhanced to 40 maunds per acre,” the e-farming project head Dr Rashid Ahmad, while talking to The Express Tribune.
The e-farming department at UAF is providing facilities to farmers across the province.
Annual reports and survey of the e-farming team show that farmers of Multan who were getting 20 maunds per acre of cotton yield on average, are now receiving 40 after the introduction of new technologies.
Experts are available for advisory purposes, he added.
USAID is also providing funds, giving Rs10 million to the project. The management of this project is giving lectures through awareness programmes at farmers’ doorsteps.
It is also running websites as part of an awareness campaign and having roughly 4,000 visitors per week.
Dr Ahmad added that hundreds of farmers are registered on the e-farming system and the management sends messages on daily weather forecasts and agricultural tips to help them avoid losses.
He added that they are providing feasibility plans to farmers on the acceptability of cultivating crops.
The project is also promoting tunnel farming, which provides Rs500,000 annually per acre on cultivation of vegetables.
Other farmers can get Rs100,000 per acre from seasonal crops by following our experts opinions,” he said, adding that farmers should abandon the traditional and slow methods of farming.
“Majority of farmers were unaware of the best cultivation time for a particular crop and the use of adequate fertilisers.
By initiating the e-farming system, these farmers can get the knowledge to maximise the field’s potential and use adequate pesticides,” said Dr Ahmad.
The lack of modern knowledge in the agriculture sector is the main problem. Farmers are not getting good prices for their crops due to ‘middle-men’.
In the e-farming system that UAF has introduced, these farmers are getting updates from all the grain markets of Pakistan, helping them in decision making in order to get good returns on their crops.