The Government of Sindh has allocated Rs 16.652 billion to the agricultural sector in the budget for the financial year 2022-23.
The provincial government aims to improve the irrigation system with financial support from the World Bank under the Sindh Irrigated Agriculture Productivity Improvement Project (SIAPEP).
The implementation of SIAPEP will contribute to the improvement of watercourses, the installation of high-efficiency irrigation systems to conserve scarce water resources and increase crop productivity to solve the problem of food security. .
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said the government was also aiming to promote vegetable gardening and tunnel farming for vegetable production. Heavy earthmoving machinery and drilling rigs were provided to farmers at subsidized rent for better production.
“Although the Sindh government has allocated Rs 16 billion in the budget, which is higher than the previous budget, it is not enough for our needs,” Sindh Abadgar Senior Vice Chairman Mahmood said. Nawaz Shah, during an interview with The Express Tribune. “The realities on the ground have changed, the cost of production is increasing day by day.”
He pointed out that Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) prices have risen again, which means the price of DAP bag has doubled to about Rs 12,000 from Rs 6,000 last year. “The same goes for other fertilizers,” he added.
Urea, on which the government subsidizes continuously, is available at around Rs 2,400 a bag compared to Rs 1,800 just under a year ago.
Expressing concern, he said that small and medium growers will not be able to afford basic nutrients for their crops apart from new growing technologies. “It will create further imbalance because the government has paid no attention to fundamental structural issues,” he added.
“I don’t understand why the federal and provincial governments haven’t talked about wheat,” he said. “The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has warned that wheat yield in Pakistan will decline as our consumer demand soars.”
The government should have accelerated research to produce new seeds and improve other factors, Nawaz said.
He pointed out that on Sindh’s four major crops, except wheat, “we used foreign seeds for all crops, which should never happen; the seeds must be tried and tested for compatibility with the soil of the region, a scientific practice adopted in developed countries.
Goals for next year
To address the challenge of climate change, projects such as Indus Basin Transformation with Climate Resilient Agriculture and Sindh Water and Agriculture Transformation (SWAT) Project with Technical Assistance and financial services of the World Bank will be implemented in the next fiscal year, the Chief Minister said. .
Under this program, 12,788 acres of salinity-affected soil in the Sindh Left Bank Water Board areas will be reclaimed.
The objectives included the Center of Excellence for Salinity Research and Reclamation, which will be established in Tando Jam, 784 streams will be improved, 1,258 agricultural tools will be provided to producers with a 50% subsidy and 200 laser land leveling equipment will be purchased.
The province plans to install 211 solar-powered tube wells at a subsidized cost. He also proposed the installation of 730 conventional tube wells. The government announced the purchase of four backhoes and the installation of seven cold storage units.
The Sindh government has allocated 13 bulldozers to the agricultural sector.
“I don’t understand why the government allocated funds for this heavy machinery which the province needed 40 years ago when the land was not leveled,” Sindh Abadgar board vice chairman said. . The province had also allocated the bulldozers last year, he added.
Commenting on the Sindh government’s announcement to construct seven cold stores, Nawaz said this is only possible through public-private partnership as the government does not have the capacity to execute the idea.
Although the government has proposed to set up six chili driers and processing units, it would have been better to spread this amount for other horticultural products in Sindh which are normally surplus but could not be marketed effectively, Nawaz suggested. .
During his speech, the Chief Minister said that a program had been launched to save the cotton crop through the management of the pink bollworm.
Essential equipment, materials, chemicals, standards and glassware will be supplied to pesticide and fertilizer quality control and testing laboratories in Sindh.
Published in L’Express Tribune, June 15e2022.