Associated Press Of Pakistan
ISLAMABAD, Jun 01 — Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) has distributed seeds of different pulses for 36,280 acres in order to enhance output of local pulses to reduce reliance on imported pulses.
The initiative was aiming at to strengthen overall pulses seed production in the country to attain self sufficiency in seed production for fulfilling the domestic requirements of the commodity, said an official in the Ministry of National Food Security and Research.
Talking to APP here on Tuesday, he said that currently Pakistan was producing about 712 thousand tons of major pulses including chickpea, lentil, mung and mash beans.
The rest of these pulses have to be imported to meet the demand of the country, he said adding that
PARC had initiated a 5 year project titled “Promoting Research for Productivity Enhancement in Pulses” funded by Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) with worth of Rs1,437 million in order to promote pulses production across the country.
There were 17 components of the project including research development in areas of pulses production and capacity development of federal and provincial governments and allied agencies.
Under the project, 2,797 accessions have been tested throughout the country in 19 different locations via National Uniform Yield Trials to evaluate and select promising ones for improved varieties development, he said adding that the basic and pre-basic seed production has also been initiated on about 842 acres through which 500 ton seed will be produced for further multiplication.
Moreover, farmers have been provided seed on 50% cost sharing for an area of 36,000 acres through which 15,480 ton certified seed will be produced which will be a major breakthrough in overcoming the shortage of national pulses seed production, he remarked.
Similarly, he said that 115 production technology trials have been conducted on farmers’ fields in order to practically demonstrate latest agro-technology.
For further awareness of the farmers, a number of seminars, field days and workshops have been organized by the project in all the provinces, he added.
To promote pulses production in the country different machinery including multi-crop seed drill, multi-crop thresher, small handy weeder, mechanical weeder, seed grader cum cleaner are being provided to pulses farming community on 50% cost sharing, he said adding that Provision of Portable Solar Irrigation System on 50% cost sharing basis to the farmers is one such initiative which would come in hand especially for pulses production on sandy dunes (Thal area).
Benefits on completion of project:
Meanwhile, he informed that scope of the project would also be extended to increase national average pulses including chickpea, lentil, mungbean, mashbean and common bean yield by 30% through reducing yield gaps and increasing productivity and profitability through multifarious activities.
He said that seed replacement for 132,000 acres through distribution at 50% subsidized cost to 30,790 farmers annually to be made.
Farmers will be provided with pulses related 2,495 farm machines at 50 % cost sharing basis, he said adding that farming communities will be trained for the promotion and productivity enhancement of pulses which will increase yield by 15-20%.
He said that presently available quality seed 1,401 tones will be added with 879 tons annually beside quantity shared by farmers with each other for replacing old and remote seeds.
Availability of 4,000 indigenous and exotic germplasm lines of different pulses for variety development will be ensured, he said adding that about 150,000 farmers will be contacted for mobilization and awareness about pulses.
He informed that during first year of the project a visible impact was witnessed as import substitution of $129 million through increased production of mungbean and gram, 75,000 and 35,000 tons respectively.
It may is worth mentioning here that pulses are the most important source of vegetable protein and because of the population growth, demand for pulses is increasing day by day with per capita consumption of about 6.0 kg per capita per annum, pulses annual consumption has exceeded to 1,246.8 thousand tons.