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Govt stresses new tech to increase agri yield

FAISALABAD/MULTAN – Agriculture department has underlined the need for adopting new cultivation technology in addition to develop high yielding and disease resisting varieties of sugarcane to get maximum production.

This was stated by Director Agriculture (Extension), Chaudhary Abdul Hameed here on Sunday. He informed that the area under sugarcane cultivation had recorded a steep decline of 27 percent in Punjab this year whereas in Faisalabad it recorded 15 percent decline.

Explaining the statistics, he told that last year sugarcane was cultivated on 269,000 acres of land in Faisalabad whereas this year it cultivated on 227,000 acres of land. It would certainly affect the overall production of sugar in future which was currently being available in surplus quality to be exported.

He told that there are five sugar mills in Faisalabad with total crushing capacity of 29,800 tons per day.

Although the sugar mills have started crushing but they are unable to get enough sugarcane to run their mills with full crushing capacity. He said that currently per-acre yield of sugarcane is around 622 maunds which is less than the international standard.

Highlighting the importance of sugarcane, he said it is an important cash crop of Pakistan. Sugar industry is the second largest agro-based industry in the country, consuming sugarcane as raw material for producing refined sugar. Some portion of the crop was also used for the production of brown sugar, locally known as ‘Gur’, especially in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, he added.

He further informed that Pakistan was the fifth largest country in terms of cultivated sugarcane area but it was a matter of concern that it was lagging far behind than the developed countries in terms of per hectare production of sugarcane.

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Director Agriculture said that the department already launched a vigorous campaign to educate sugarcane growers to select only high yielding varieties for cultivation which have maximum sugar content.

Similarly, new varieties were also being encouraged which needs less water as compared to the existing varieties which need multiple watering to get proper yield, he added.

He told that the government has already issued directive to ensure payment of sugarcane at Rs.180 per maund to the growers.

A spokesman of the agriculture department said that the weeds not only reduce the quantity of crop production but also play a major role for damaging quality of the grains.

He said the farmers should make proper arrangements for timely removal of weeds as it badly affect the yield which cause reduction in wheat production up to 42 percent.

He said that after comprehensive survey, the agricultural experts observed that the weeds cause up to 42 percent production loss in wheat crop, 41 percent loss in cotton crop, 39 percent loss in rice crop, 35 percent loss in sugarcane crop, 47 percent loss in maize crop, 55 percent in pulses, 45 percent loss in oil-seed crops and 89 percent production loss in vegetable crops.

The weeds not only absorb nutrients of the crop plants but also provide suitable environment to pests which are injurious to the crop production. Therefore, the farmers should take immediate steps to remove the weeds from the crops for getting maximum production, he advised.

The Agriculture Department also advised farmers to keep temperature from 15 degree centigrade to 30 degree centigrade in vegetables cultivated under tunnels. Temperature should be between 18 to 24 degree centigrade for cucumber, gourd, melon, brinjal, water melon, touri, however, it should be 21 to 24 degree centigrade for pepper and capsicum,  said a handout issued by agriculture department, here on Sunday.

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It also suggested that the vegetable field should not be covered immediately after application of fertilizers as it would create gases and harm vegetables. So, it should be left open for some time. Similarly, tunnels should be kept open from 10am to 2pm as it would help addressing issue of moisture. Moisture is not good because it create different diseases. The farmers were suggested to instal exhaust fan in field if possible as it would control moisture in the field, the handout added.

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