Agriculture Emergency Declared In KP – Yet To Benefit Farmers
PESHAWAR: As a survey was being conducted, farmers expressed hope that the government had not announced the Agriculture Emergency Project for “aliens” – since farmers of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa are certainly unaware of the project.
One farmer and owner of livestock, Rifaq Kareem, resident of Shahbag in the district of Mardan, thanked Naya Daur for disclosing to him the fact that an Agriculture Emergency was officially in place in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. He said that he and other farmers of the village were unaware of any Agriculture Emergency because the government had not yet arranged any awareness program.
“The government should give the subsidy directly to the farmers because we had noted in previous schemes that the landlords got the benefits and farmers always remain deprived from the fruit of such projects’’ he added. He demanded that the government establish new research centres in every district for the production of viable seeds which can resist the specific temperature variations of district Mardan. “An Agriculture Centre had introduced 92 sugarcane buds some 10 years ago but no improvement has been done after that,’’ he added.
Rifaq revealed that the government had conducted a water management census in 1992 and the farmers had been using agricultural water according to that data. But in the long period of 18 years since then, much of the agricultural land had been converted into residential areas, so the government needs to distribute water on the basis of a fresh census. “The new census for water distribution would resolve disputes among the farmers” he added.
Another farmer and owner of livestock, Ajmal, of Naguman in district Peshawar, told Naya Daur that he was dissatisfied with the livestock centres because the officials there had been unable to provide guidance for the enhancement of dairy products. He added that the rates of the medicines available at livestock centres are much higher than those on the open market.
Nevertheless, the Chief Planning Officer in the Agriculture Department of KP, Murtaza Shah, states that under the National Agriculture Emergency Programme, Rs 44.5 billion will be spent on 11 projects for the development of agriculture, livestock, fisheries and irrigation sectors in KP during the next four years. Moreover, the building of safety walls, vaccination of livestock and establishment of dairy farms are all part of the developmental programme.
Shah further stated that the Minister for Agriculture had chaired a meeting on the 28th of November wherein he had directed all the officials of the Agriculture Departments to expedite activities associated with these projects, so as to achieve the desired goals from the Agriculture Emergency.
Director of Marketing at the Agriculture Extension Department for Peshawar, Javed Maqbool Bhutt, claimed that the main target of the Agriculture Emergency was to increase agricultural yields by up to 20% every year. He asserted that 2.1 million small scale farmers had been registered with Model Farm Service Centre and would now get the machinery and seeds that they require at subsidized rates. He emphasized that unregistered farmers can also get the seeds and machinery by submitting an application to district directors of the Agriculture Department.
The author is a Peshawar-based journalist and currently working as a reporter and editor with The Frontier Post. He can be reached at [email protected]