Farmers in Pakistan benefits from new rice-wheat planters

PlanterPakistani farmers have expressed that locally manufactured rice planters are helping them by supporting conservation agriculture, with costs savings and soil and water conservation benefits, in rice-wheat farming rotation that covers more than 2.2mn ha in Pakistan

The farmers expressed their opinion at a meeting, held in May 2017, at the Rice Research Institute in Kala Shah Kaku in Pakistan.

They said that the performance of nearly 200 locally produced farming implements, which they received to test during 2016-2017, allowed to sow the seeds of rice, wheat and other crops directly into the unploughed grounds, including the stubble and other residues from preceding crops.

The new rice-wheat farming technology has been provided by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) and the United States Agency for Development (USAID), aiming to support an improved agricultural productivity in Pakistan.

In 2014, the CIMMYT, supported by USAID, imported a multi-crop zero tillage planter for rice and several zero tillage ‘Happy Seeders’ to Pakistan, to test on the farmers’ fields in five districts of Punjab, through CIMMYT’s agricultural innovation program (AIP).

After successful completion of the tests, CIMMYT started working with local machinery manufactures to produce the first locally-modified versions of the seeding implements.

CIMMYT collaborated with Greenland Engineering Daska, a leading zero tillage drill manufacturer in Pakistan, to adapt the rice planter’s inclined plate seeding system, with an aim to provide an increased planting density with 10 per cent higher rice yields than before.

Irfan Iqbal, representative of Greenland Engineering, said that the company had produced and marketed 185 rice planters to farmers during 2016-17.

Sharif Engineering, a zero tillage seed drill manufacturer, helped in modifying the Happy Seeder to enable the farmers sowing wheat directly into heavy rice residue field.

Mirza Ghazanfar, country representative, said that Sharif manufactured 13 Happy Seeders with AIP support.

Muhammad Akhter, director of Pakistan’s Rice Research Institute, welcomed the initiative by USAID and CIMMYT to spread an environment-friendly rice-wheat farming technologies to the farmers in Pakistan.

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