The objective of the meeting was to know about the problems faced by the farmers and develop a comprehensive strategy for addressing them. Around 250 farmers from Punjab took part in the deliberations. PHOTO: HAYAT KHOKHAR/EXPRESS
Small farmers are facing a host of issues which include poverty, high fertiliser and electricity prices, lack of canal water and absence of a price mechanism for agricultural inputs and these problems need a solution in order to increase farm production and ensure food security.
These things were highlighted at a consultation meeting on the “Role of University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) in ensuring livelihood strategies for small farmers” at UAF on Wednesday.
The objective of the meeting was to know about the problems faced by the farmers and develop a comprehensive strategy for addressing them. Around 250 farmers from Punjab took part in the deliberations.
A representative of small farmers, Hafiz Muhammad Ajmal, said he had not been able to get canal water for his farmland for the last 25 years and met his needs from the tube wells which cost Rs200 to Rs300 per hour. However, power outages had blocked this watering source too, which must be addressed, he said.
Another farmer representative, Ghulam Sabir, vented his anger over non-availability of new seed varieties for small farmers, which hampered efforts to increase per acre production of crops.
He said the biggest issue confronting the farmers was lack of resources which kept modern technology away from the farms. In a bid to give voice to the farmers, he suggested the formation of farmer organisations which could take up their problems with the government.
Faculty of Agriculture Dean Prof Dr Muhammad Ashfaq said the agriculture university was conducting modern research and was educating the farmers in this regard.
The university was holding two Kissan conventions in a year for capacity building of the farmers and distributed new seed varieties among them.
Department of Continuing Education Chairman Professor Dr Mehmood A Randhwa said the university was offering scores of training courses to train the farming community.
The Foundation Executive Director Farzana Shahid said her organisation had developed a modern village, which farmers visited for adopting modern techniques. She said a short course was being started in collaboration with the agriculture university to train 25 farmers initially in modern farming techniques.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 3rd, 2011.