ISLAMABAD: The Punjab government has launched “National Programme for enhancing profitability through increasing productivity of rice” worth Rs 6 billion to promote mechanisation, usage of certified quality seed and responsible application of pesticides in line with the global standards especially the EU and the United States.

The programme is underway in 15 rice growing districts of the province for the last one year under which, farmers are getting subsidy on purchase of certified rice seed, education on responsible and controlled use of pesticides etc. It is a complete package being given by the government to enhance the productivity of the rice sector.

The project is also aimed at promoting mechanisation through subsidizing (50 percent) use of different machines such as transplanters for increasing plant population and other agricultural implements, said Director Agriculture (Extension) Gujranwala Javed Iqbal, while speaking at a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signing ceremony.

Managing Director and CU Head Syngenta Pakistan KazimHasnain and Managing Director Galaxy Rice Shahid Tarer signed the document on behalf of their respective organisations to impart training to rice growers on pre-harvest intervals, product GAPs (Good Agriculture Practices) and application technology to bring change in farming practices to produce residue free rice.

The training will sensitise farmers on importance of right application timing based on pest ETL (economic threshold level) and PHI (pre-harvest interval) to keep our rice grains free from pesticide residues.

Kazim Hasnain highlighted that helping our farmers to produce safer food is the top priority of Syngenta Pakistan.

We train more than 400,000 farmers every year on responsible use of pesticides that not only help farmers to stay safe but also contribute towards protecting our environment and improve the quality of the produce in parallel.

Shahid Tarer said that 55 percent of Pakistan’s economy relies on agriculture and rice crop is one of the most important crops, which is earning precious foreign exchange for the country.

He said monitoring of pesticides residue in rice crop had increased and MRLs are revised periodically by the European Union (EU), USA and Gulf countries for the last three to four years.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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