Rice crop, For promoting upgraded basmati rice varieties to get more per acre yield.
Other top three things to improve productivity/income for rice farmers are the use of certified seeds, mechanical transplanting and rice specific harvesters.
Rice crop, There is also a need to discuss Agri-machine production with the engineering department of the Agriculture Universities in Pakistan and Ministry of Science and Technology.
This was the crux of a debate arranged by the Agriculture Republic, a think tank, to discuss issues being faced by the farming sector impeding the way of increased agricultural productivity in the country.
Participants noticing the government emphasis on increasing rice exports and taking it to US$ 5 billion in next five years averred that it all depends on increasing the rice production through the introduction of quality Basmati and non-basmati seeds having more per acre yield, controlling the post-harvest loss which stands at 35 percent at present.
Aamer Hayat Bhandara, a progressive farmer and founder of Agriculture Republic, platform told Business Recorder here on Saturday that the debate noticed that Pakistan Basmati export from July 2019 to June 2020 was 890,207 tonnes as compared to last a year’s 659,571 tonnes, a phenomenal growth of 40 percent.
Total rice export including non-basmati again crossed 4 million tonnes mark (4.166 million tonnes) in current 19/20 year. Pakistan’s total export in 19/20 year is 21.39 billion Dollars and rice sector contribution is 10.20 percent, second largest contributor after textile.
Participants of the discussion observed the profit earned from exports does, to some extent, trickle down to the farmers since the devaluation has made our rice quite competitive and prices have risen. Since prices are driven by the export market and that does benefit the farmer 8/10 times.
Rice crop, Maize is not directly competing with rice due to the fact that the majority is grown in spring.
However, the major challenge in rice crop is its lack of primary seed and upgraded varieties. Hybrid coarse varieties in Sindh have given very good production. Thanks to China and some local experiments and a new Chinese sewing machine. However, it will cause loss of area of cultivation for Basmati rice which was an advantage for Pakistan. Among other concerns, factors influencing rice export of Pakistan to the world market involve geopolitical concerns, tariffs and pricing, import substitution policy. Pakistan has captured some market share in Europe as Indian basmati was showing really high pesticide residue levels. “We need to continue to make sure we produce high-quality products to keep market share,” stakeholders of rice sector observed.
Issues of lack of cheap farmer finance, poor harvesting tech, no storage etc. are needed to be addressed in order to improve rice cultivation.
There should be no trade-off between the long grain of Sindh and Basmati of Punjab.
Rice crop, Both should be promoted. Pakistan needs value addition and brands. Also, try to get GSP+ status for Rice in the EU like textile.
The private sector should be involved not only in hybrid as lucrative business but also in Basmati by intention not by amending seed act.
Discussing recent key developments in agriculture innovation that include plant selection and breeding, continuous improvement in farming equipment, digital farming as well as plant biotechnology, participants said that all of these are important innovations that are vital to support farmer’s ability to mitigate on-farm challenges presented by weed, insects, pests and the environment (heat, drought etc.).
They observed that the government should fix the prices of different varieties of rice while farmers can increase their productivity by choosing better land, better seed, enhancing number of plants per acre and application of the required amount of fertiliser and in time usage of balanced and best pesticides to tackle diseases.
Technical support is not provided by the government and hence achieving high production without technical support is quite difficult, the debate concluded.
This news was originally published at brecorder.com