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Agri Report

Agri Report

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Development Constraints in Ag Sector in Pakistan
Development Constraints in Ag Sector in Pakistan

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Published by: Sardar Taimur Hyat-Khan on Feb 08, 2011
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The Comilla Approach was the Late, Lamented, Akhter Hameed Khan’s method of tackling Rural Development in Former East Pakistan. To cut down upon Establishment Expenses, Centers were established in Police Stations. The original design envisaged Centers wherein Professionals could get together with Farmers to explain the aims and impart the methods of the GREEN REVOLUTION. After Practical Research in the field, we have developed MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS based upon this Approach.

The Khidmat Approach involves the Establishment of Technology Receiving, Demonstrating & Transferring Centers. These Centers are established on leased land. The Centers are called Khidmat Marakiz and are of two types. The Agri/ Horticultural Center is preferably of at least 40 Kanals (2 Hectares). The Technical Center should be at least 8 to 10 Kanals. Low Cost and Appropriate Technology, selected to suit the area, in both Agri/ Horticulture and Technical Fields is initiated. Secondly, Research is launched to determine which Crop/ Technology is most suited to that particular environment. Interns are selected from amongst the local populace and a Profit Oriented, Agri/ Horticultural or Technical Venture is launched. Technical Experts are invited to share their knowledge and a Core Group of trained and experienced individuals who are drawn from existing Centers imparts Training. The Management Systems, that have been evolved by the Foundation, are fine-tuned to suit the area and are imparted to firstly the Interns and secondly to the surrounding populace.




. . . . . . . . . QALANDAR NAGAR CENTER
1. BACKGROUND: The Intervention program for Hazara Division was initiated from Haripur District in July 1999. The Site selected was near Village Mung, 11 Km from Haripur towards Khanpur, on the Haripur – Khanpur Road. The Site is approximately 1.5 Km of the main and on the Mung – Kot Najibullah Road. It consists of 65 Kanals of depleted Barani Land. It is felt that a brief review of the problems faced by the Foundation and the Development Constraints in the area will go a long way towards resolving these issues. Thus making for more, and better development. 2. PROBLEMS FACED: • RESISTANCE: Repeatedly the Foundation as a Private Organization has had to face resistance from Local Landlords. This was especially true for Mung. The Human Psyche is ingrained with resistance to change. This factor has to be given due consideration. • SEDANTARY VERSUS PASTORAL: It has been found that Cattle, sheep and goat grazing, by settlers and refugees, is causing a lot of damage to an already fragile Eco-system. Secondly, they do not hesitate to cause damage and financial loss to the local agricultural efforts. • NON-ORGANIC SOILS: Closely linked to the above two points is the serious problem of lack of Organic Material in the soil. Soils are depleted of Nutrients due to erosion; Where no organic material is inculcated into the soil; Where harmful substances have killed all Biota present in the soil. All curtail produce tremendously. Humic content and Friendly bacteria are practically non-existent.

• POOR WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: There exists a lot of room for improvement in Water Resource Management. At present the farmers are either totally dependent upon rainfall (Barani) or are employing flood irrigation. • LACK OF CROP RELATED RESEARCH: Farmers are engaged in following time honored cropping patterns. There is no research what so

. . . . . . . . ever relating to new and better crops and timings. What little that has .

been done, such as the introduction of Canola, is sabotaged by supply of poor quality seed. My farmers from the Haripur Region have faced a total lack of germination of Canola Seed supplied in 1999/ 2000. • CREDIT: A local bank was approached for credit for establishing OffSeason structures for vegetables. Despite enthusiastic agreement by the bank officials, funds have not been released even after a lapse of four months. The amount requested was in the Micro Credit Range. Delay in releasing funds for time sensitive crops is not the correct method of Credit Disbursement. Even a few days delay can cause severe loss in yields. This, in turn, lowers profit margins and even wipes them out. Lack of finances creates a situation wherein the best use of land is not possible. • SEED: Upon four occasions, over a period of 6 months, seed purchased proved to be sub-standard. This causes a lot of loss to the farmers. Time, effort and money is wasted, as returns from poor seed are not sufficient to make the effort cost effective. • POOR CULTURAL PRACTICES: The tractor is a specialized tool. It has been found that mechanical skills in cultivating the land are sorely lacking. Lands are badly leveled. Contour Farming needs to be improved. Soil erosion is being aggravated by not catering for drainage. Freshly plowed land is subjected to torrential rain, the topsoil falls prey to sheet erosion. Deep plowing is carried out in the wrong season and too often. Crop rotation and green manuring is not practiced. All these factors have led to sorely depleted soils. Orchards too, face many problems. Pruning is hardly ever carried out. Secondly, cultivation around Fruit Trees is carried out in a harmful manner, i.e. too deep and not restricted to the Drip Line of the tree’s foliage. Thirdly, efficient systems for irrigation are not adopted. Fourthly, fertilization with organic and stabilized nutrients is sorely lacking. All these factors curtail yields severely as well as produce unhealthy fruits; diseased and Pest-Prone trees. • USE OF UNSTABILIZED FERTILIZERS/ DANGEROUS PESTICIDES: Both Urea and DAP contain Nitrogen that rapidly converts to Nitrate Form or is already present in that form. Pesticides are causing irreparable damage. • INEFFICIENT FERTILIZATION: Broadcast fertilization is wasteful and can actually lead to encouraging competition between crops and weeds. • PLANT NUTRITION: The concept of plant nutrition seems to have escaped our attention. The fertilizer regime as recommended by our

. . . . . . . . Agriculture .

Department is outdated. There is no recommendation for Potassium. Secondary and MicroNutrients are not used. • LACK OF TECHNICAL SUPPORT: The Extension Service of the Agriculture Department leaves much to be desired. They are either underqualified or do not have enough facilities to be able to carry out their jobs. • ABSENSE OF CROP INSURANCE: Being totally at the mercy of nature is not conducive to encouraging Farmers, Investors or Credit Institutions. Uncertainty engendered by changing weather patterns leads to extreme caution on the part of the farmer. • LACK OF STORAGE/ COLD STORAGE/ PROPER TRANSPORT FACILITIES: This factor obviously effects Horticulture tremendously. The farmers are almost blackmailed into selling their produce at the lowest possible rates. • POOR MARKETING ATMOSPHERE: Here as in other sectors of our Economy, there exists a Buyers rather than a Sellers Market. For development, this situation needs to be reversed. The seller should not be blackmailed when he attempts to sell. The prevalent market situation discourages change from extensive to intensive farming. • DIFFICULTIES IN EXPORT: The number of difficulties and delays that an exporter has to face discourages many from attempting to export. Loss caused by these factors leads to a turning away from this most vital aspect of a Nations economy. • LACK OF INFORMATION: Crop specific information is sorely lacking. Planting methods; densities; spacing; fertilizer and cultural requirements and timings are usually quite obscure.



. . . . . . . . st . 21 CENTURY AGRICULTURE
• OVERCOMING RESISTANCE: This factor is readily removed with actual results on ground. Seeing is indeed believing! Once the locals see the difference with their own eyes, they are more amenable to change. Indeed the miserable economic conditions that prevail in the Rural Areas, makes them eager to adopt demonstrably profitable methods. SEDANTARY VERSUS PASTORAL: Solutions must be found to restrict grazing. Confined feeding with nutrient supplements will better the quality of milk and meat. This alternate is expensive in the short term but extremely cost effective in the long term. We have but one Eco-System. That too has been severely damaged. Secondly, refugee and settler problems have to be resolved on a priority basis. ORGANIC SOILS: Composting with Effective Microbes can greatly speed up the process. Secondly Organic matter is increased four fold, by using this technique. The resultant quality and abundance in yields is a great incentive. This makes farming sustainable. WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: Production of Sprinkle Systems needs to be increased. Secondly, inexpensive Drip and Sub-Soil Irrigation can be practiced as demonstrated in the Centers. CROP RELATED RESEARCH: Viable alternatives should be found and pursued. Khidmat Marakiz are admirably suited for such efforts. The process takes many years and is not profitable in the short term. When linked up with Universities and Agriculture Departments the efforts costs can be underwritten or offset. A system of reward and recognition for Research that yields positive results will prove to be sufficient incentive to take on this task. CREDIT: To disburse credit solely through Finance Specialists is not effective for Agri/ Horticulture. Specialists should be associated with the process. This would ensure timely disbursement for viable efforts. SEED: Certified seed is essential to Agri/ Horticulture. Strict penalties should be imposed on the sale of sub-standard seed. Viable seed and resultant increase in produce will encourage the farmers. CULTURAL PRACTICES: Institutions that impart training need to be encouraged. Secondly, we need to develop visual training material. Thirdly, education programs can be run on Public Radio and TV.


. . . . . . . . USE OF STABILIZED FERTILIZERS/ SAFE PESTICIDES: Advances in Research .

have revealed the viability of Stabilized and thus safe mineral fertilizers. We need to adopt the forthwith. Despite ban on certain Pesticides, they are available in the market (Heptachlor etc.). Secondly, our Agricultural Departments need to be educated about modern and safe products. Once the concerned Authorities are convinced, the sale of unstabilized fertilizer can also be banned. FERTILIZATION: Again, this aspect can be practically demonstrated. Banding; deep banding and foliar application need to be introduced. Training in this regard needs to be imparted. Not only does it result in great savings and also increases yields. PLANT NUTRITION: We have much to learn about this field. The world has made great advances in this field. When the very latest in CDs and Videos can be instantly imported into the Country. The latest techniques and methods should also be transferred. TECHNICAL SUPPORT: The Agri Extension Service is badly in need of overhaul. One method is to encourage Technology Receiving & Transferring Centers. CROP INSURANCE: Crop insurance through Community Based Associations will prove to be a positive step forward. In this manner, many mal-practices can be avoided and the livelihood of the small farmer can be protected. STORAGE/ COLD STORAGE/ PROPER TRANSPORT FACILITIES: At first sight, this problem seems to demand expensive remedies. Fortunately, there exists a Low Cost method of construction that will provide these facilities as far as storage is concerned. By-Products of this technology can be used for tiling drains; channels and canals. The technology is called Earth Sheltered; Ceramic Adobe; Passive Solar Construction EXPORT: This factor can be resolved by opening up channels and avenues. Procedures can be simplified. The concept of Export Houses can be considered.

MARKETING ATMOSPHERE: Not everyone is suited to marketing. Secondly, the poor and suppressed classes find it almost impossible to be aggressive in this regard. This and many other problems can be readily resolved by forming Farmers Cooperatives. Many of the existing Community Based Organizations can be converted to this type of Organization. Specialists can be appointed to take on various Technical and Marketing aspects of Production. Imparting skills can also be facilitated by selection of persons with the requisite aptitudes.


. . . . . . . . INFORMATION: .

• •

Computer Technology should be used for Agriculture. The first step would be to prepare an Agri Data Base. All relevant information as pertinent to our environment should be collected. EXPERT SYSTEMS: Expert Systems can be deigned to retrieve information from the DataBase as required on a User Friendly basis. ACCREDITED TRAINING: Training imparted in the Marakiz can be Accredited to Institutions. The combination of Hands-On Training (HOT) and Formal Examinations should produce first class skilled workers. Diploma holders would be able to improve their employment chances both within and outside the Country. POLYMER COATED SEED: The quickest and least complicated method of achieving increase in the realization of the Genetic Potential of viable seed is by Treating them with safe Systemic Pesticides; Chelated Secondary and MicroNutrients and Natural Rooting and Fruiting Hormones registered and passed by the Environment Protection Authorities. PROVISION OF AGRI/ HORTICULTURAL SERVICES: Employment of Marakiz Internees by provision of Agri/ Horticultural Services to the surrounding populace can prove to be effective as well as generate funds to make the Marakiz self-sufficient. COMMUNITY BASED FARMERS AND MARKETING ASSOCIATIONS: The extensive and growing CBOs Network can be made more effective by organizing them as Farmers Associations for growing crops and receiving Credit. Secondly, experts or individuals with aptitude can handle the Marketing of Produce. The individuals can receive specialized training in this regard.

Chapter Chapter




The Khidmat Foundation is in the process of fine-tuning a Poor Man’s Bouquet. Organic Soil; Vermiculture; Sheet & Spot Mulching; Sub-Soil Irrigation; Companion Herb and Vegetable Growing; Provision of Shade/ Green House effect (as and when required); Controlled Photo-Period and ensured low-cost yet sustainable Nutrition are all included in a Structure called the Wah Garden. The concept is built upon the Mandala Garden and Geodesic Dome concepts of PermaCulture. A 5-meter square Garden can be established with all of the above facilities on any level patch. Quality of soil or its absence is not important as the beds can be built up with Compost and Mulches. The Geodesic Dome not only provides a frame for climbing vines, it also provides support for trailing plants (tomatoes, Cucumbers). Thirdly, protection from birds; beasts and fowl can be readily secured by fastening Chicken wire over the structure. The Wah Garden is very integrated. Economics are being documented and helpful suggestions are requested for ideas in Companion Planting to suit various Agro-Ecological Regions of the Country. The Wah Garden can be readily prepared with locally available and inexpensive materials in a step-by-step manner. Details are available with the Foundation.


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In order to provide a chance for small house holders to grow mushrooms either for sale or consumption, a small mushroom growing structure or a Kulla@ has been designed. This design is on the principle of the Fired Adobe@. The ball clay mix has sawdust added to it. Upon firing a porous brick results. This aids the passage of humidity when the brick is wet. The structure contains eight 1m x 0.5m trays or 4 square meters of growing space. There is a wind catcher on the vault roof and ventilators on both sides. These can be opened and closed as per requirement. Thus humidity and ventilation are catered for. The one-foot thick walls act as a good insulator and a moderate temperature is maintained inside the Kulla. In case of areas of severe cold, the growing trays can be alternated with fresh animal dung trays that will give off heat during decomposition. Thus a cold frame technique can be used, especially in the Northern Areas, to provide fresh mushrooms even in the depth of winter. However the number of dung trays used reduces the surface area. This economical and long lasting structure is low cost in construction and trouble free in maintenance. It is fire proof and earth quake resistant. The structure is made in 4 days from locally available ball clay.



The preceding material should amply convey the fact that there is plenty of room for improvement in our Agri/ Horticultural efforts. No ill will should be generated and all findings should be examined with an open mind. To reject Modern Methods based upon obsolete data is abhorrent to say the very least. Unfortunately, such attitudes exist amongst the top people in Official Agricultural Circles. They must make an effort to be in step with the times. The Khidmat Foundation is constantly engaged in efforts directed towards ameliorating the lot of the Rural Poor. We are well aware of the fact that the ultimate solution of our ills lies in the wholehearted participation of ALL! No coercion can possibly result in genuine progress! A sense of sharing and caring has to be developed. People have to take their fate in their own hands and reshape their future. True development cannot be imposed from above. Suggestions and positive criticism are welcome. Participation is requested in a National Drive for Progress! The Khidmat Foundation has made efforts in this regard. For this purpose we are in the process of organizing Marakiz in the Hazara Region. We have targeted this Region as it has the most potential to be developed for the growing of seed as well as raising crops for export. For this purpose we have established a Markaz in Mung and have taken three other Sites on Long Lease (5 years). These Sites are concentrated mostly in Southern Hazara. Secondly we are in the process of establishing a Markaz in the Mansherra area. Obviously expense and effort are required. We have laid the foundations and hope to build up a permanent structure that would be an Institution. At this stage we request support in the form of funds; technical expertise and enthusiastic membership. This is not a task for individuals, no matter how dedicated. The task has to be taken on collectively. We offer a partially established platform with no vested or hidden interests. Our guiding light lies in the following:


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