PESHAWAR – The Khyber Pakthunkhwa Government will spend about Rs 9 billion on conservation of water and soil in the province during next five years to get maximum area under wheat, rice and others crops besides vegetables and fruits cover.
The water and soil’s conservation especially in rainy areas are top most priority of the government and up to Rs 9 billion would be spent on strengthening of these sectors to make the province self-sufficient in wheat, rice and other agriculture production, Mohibullah Khan, Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Dairy Development told APP .
He said all arid and semi arid areas besides waterlogged would be included in this mega project and about Rs billion would be required for conservation of water and soil in the province.
He said KP government has chalked out a comprehensive plan for pavement of 20000 watercourses in next five years to provide uninterrupted water supply to farmers especially at the tail-ends in the province.
In the first 100-days of PTI government, he said an inclusive strategy was evolved for pavement of 12000 to 20000 watercourses in the province by 2023 to address problem of wastage of irrigation water.
He said approximately Rs15 billion would be required for pavement and repair of these watercourses.
The Minister said around 76000 watercourses existed in Khyber Pakthunkhwa among which only 26,000 were constructed. He said agriculture is backbone of the country’s economy as 85pc population and industries are relying directly or indirectly relied on agriculture sector.
In next five years, he said our prime focus would be strengthening of agriculture research and extension services, livestock animals health disease control, breading and genetic resource conservation programs, veterinary and agriculture education, human resource development, provision of special incentives in terms of seeds and fertilizers to farmers.
He said conservation program to save rare breed of Azakheli buffaloes in Malakand division has been started in Swat district keeping in view its high potential in meats and milk’s production. The population of these buffaloes mainly found in Khwazakhella and Madyan areas of Swat district, had witnessed decrease due to devastation of floods in 2010 and militancy in 2008-09 in Swat in line with new livestock policy 2018.
Mohibullah Khan said the department is also working on a plan for conservation and protection of an endangered sheep of Damani DI Khan, Hasthangar, Waziri sheep and Sannen goat in the province.
Khyber Pakthunkhwa is blessed with both cold and warm water resources and offers immense opportunities for fish farming as the province has 6100 kilometers rivers and streams, 6400 hectares of natural lakes and 54600 hectares of dams and reservoirs ideal for fish production.
To tap this water resource potential, the Minister said trout villages in Malakand and Hazara divisions would be established keeping in view of its better climate conditions for conservation and breeding of this precious aquatic species on scientific lines.
Before PTI government, he said only 15 farms of trout fish was available in the province and during last five years it had raised to 200. He said government has planned to establish 200 more model fish farms and hatcheries in next five years to boost fish farming and its production.
Spilt of sewerage water directly into watercourses, canals and rivers are major causes of water population besides making negative effect on lives of fishes including endangered ‘Masher’ and holistic approach especially cooperation of community was required to curb this practice, he said.
The Minister said 19 new seed varieties of different crops, fruits and vegetables prepared by agriculture department’s scientists were approved by Provincial Seeds Council that would facilitate farmers besides enhance their per acre yield and effectively combating various diseases in the wake of climate change’s challenges.
He said special awareness and education programs for farmers were launched by holding of field days, seminars, workshops and dissemination of information about new seeds, climates conditions and others issues by agri experts through SMS on regular basis.
The Minister urged farmers, horticulturists and fruits growers to take full advantage of these facilities and adopt latest technologies to achieve autarky in food.