LAHORE – Potato farming is rapidly increasing in different areas despite the fact that government has not so far developed any price and export mechanism for the crop.
The reason behind the growing interest of farmers in potato cultivation is the direct support of some companies to them. Farmers are being provided modern seed varieties and technical support and the companies enter into agreement with them for direct purchase of their product. Punjab Agriculture Department is also on board in these initiatives.
A group of journalists covering agriculture sector were invited to visit one of the modern potato farms near Kasur. The purpose of the visit was to create awareness among other farmers about these initiatives. The PepsiCo also organised a ceremony on occasion which was attended by a number of farmers of the area. The event, titled the “Sustainable Farming Program Roadshow”, was organized as part of several initiatives being taken by the company under the banner of its “Sustainable Farming Program.”
“The purpose of this event is to promote sustainable farming practices for its potato farmers located in district Kasur,” said Zahid Saleem, the head of PepsiCo Pakistan’s Agronomy function.
Addressing the gather, he said the company was excited about imparting critical knowledge on sustainability best practices to its growers. By putting this knowledge into action, the growers were helping the environment and also improving their own livelihoods in the process, he added.
He informed that SFP was a global initiative launched by PepsiCo where the company engaged with farmers. The company, he said, provided education on field agronomy, fertilizers, irrigation, plant protection techniques and new technologies.
The event showcased global best practices in sustainable farming, so that potato growers could employ those processes and techniques at the farm level in order to become more sustainable. The event consisted of video screenings imparting knowledge about the company’s commitment to sustainability, as well as demonstrations of high efficiency irrigation systems (HEIS; including drip and sprinkler systems) and their benefits for both crop yields as well as for the environment.
In 2017 alone, it was claimed, company’s growers helped conserve approximately one billion litres of water by using HEIS on their farms.