Strengthening farmers’ knowledge for better crop yields

Strengthening farmers’ knowledge for better crop yields

Hasan of village Fazal Wadho, participant, expressed, “We were wasting valuable natural resources, but now I will utilize these resources for sustainable agriculture practices.”

An exposure visit of sixty farmers from Badin, Sindh, to the Central Cotton Research Institute, Agriculture Training Institute and Wheat Research Institute was conducted and facilitated in Sakrand last week of March under the Promoting Sustainable Agriculture Farming project supported by Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB).

Mr. Muhammad Yousaf Channa, coordinator and senior Instructor for the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) unit at Agriculture Training Institute in Sakrand, facilitated the visit along with Community World Service Asia staff. The participants were welcomed by Dr. Abdul Waris Sanjrani, Director,Central Cotton Research Institute (CCRI).

The CCRI is engaged in multidisciplinary researches conducted in the field of Agronomy, Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cytogenetics, Entomology, Plant Pathology, Plant Physiology and a newly established section, Transfer of Technology. Since its inception, the Institute has successfully evolved considerable number of high yielding cotton varieties at required fiber qualities. Abdullah Keerio and Saira Bano, Scientific officers at the Institute, introduced production technology to the participants. Shah Nawaz Khoro, Senior Scientific Officer, explained Cotton Insect pests. A documentary was also screened showing the cotton production technology.

Abdul Wahab Soomro and Vishandas Suthar, also Scientific officers at the Institute, facilitated the participants through their visit of the greenhouse placed with parental genes of cotton plants imported from various countries for development of further progenies. The Glass house was another visiting site in the location where cotton cultivars were planted in winter in controlled environments to save the time required for evaluation of new variety. The participants were amazed to visit the Cold Room where decades old cotton seeds are preserved.

At the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), the group of visiting farmers was welcomed by Dr. Ghulam Mustafa Jamali, Principal of the Institute (ATI). The farmers were briefed about the integrated crop and pest management process and systems by the coordinator at ATI and experienced new procedures of organic backyard gardening, compost making, optimum use of available waste resources for more productive plantation and innovative methods to measure soil moisture. At the Wheat Research Institute, Dr. Kareem Bux Lagari, briefed the participants regarding the varieties of wheat grown in experimental fields and demonstrated how different strains and wheat are developed. The farmers then visited the demonstration field where production technologies were functioning and lastly to the Wheat Museum where a large variety of wheat was on display.

The Sindhi farming community is very apprehensive about the current cropping season. They are looking for best suitable crop varieties in accordance to the soil composition and the changing climate. Previously they use to purchase any variety of plant to yield but these exposure visits have made the farmers more aware about seed selection and crop management as per changing seasons. Moreover, the farmers are now planning to use waste material for crop and vegetable production. One of the participant has already started making compost from the waste material and is planning to go for ridge sowing in the following wheat season to collect a good yield.