ISLAMABAD – The government has failed to create awareness among farmers to utilize subsidy offered for drip and sprinkle irrigation that has the potential to save water and 60 percent electricity and diesel costs and augment per acre yield by 100 percent.
Drip irrigation and sprinkle project is one of the many projects government is running in Punjab in collaboration with World Bank under Punjab Irrigated-Agriculture Productivity Improvement Project (PIPIP).
It has a capacity to install equipment on 15000 acres per year and can benefit up to 1300 farmers, but due to lack of interest of farmers the progress is very slow. Under this project, drip and sprinkler irrigation are installed on subsidised rates in fields. With this technology, the farmers could save 60 percent electricity and diesel costs augmenting per acre yield by 100 percent.
According to spokesman for Punjab Agriculture Department, IRSA reports suggested that less water will be available for agriculture purposes during Rabi and Kharif season. Experts hold failure to build new reservoirs, growing population and climate change responsible for the water shortage.
Drip irrigation system is suitable for crop cultivation when irrigation water or rainwater is not enough for conventional farming. This technology, so far, has been adopted by many farmers across Punjab owing to acute shortage of river water and limited rains, but it need to be adopted on large scale, an official said.
He requested farmers to apply high efficiency in conserving water, which will not increasing per acre yield but will also reduce cost of cultivation.
Pakistan is ranked on 7th position among the list of countries facing water scarcity. According to official data, in 1947, every citizen has 5 to 6 thousand cubic metre available for himself, which has now diminished up to one thousand cubic metre. Scientists feared that until 2025 it will further drop to only 800 cubic metre for every citizen. Water saving in agriculture is very low despite the fact that total water consumption is for agriculture around 93percent, while the rest of 7 percent is sued for other purposes.
Spokesman for the Punjab Agriculture Department said that since the magnitude of problems is very large and it will affect every citizen, every institution, academia and media should play a practical role in highlighting the modern irrigation techniques to save water for present and coming generations.
Atif Khan; The Nation