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MULTAN: Secretary Agriculture South Punjab Saqib Ali Ateel said that farmers confidence in Integrated Pests Management (IPM) improved remarkably as it helped achieving handsome production despite very low cost on inputs. Secretary Agriculture Saqib Ali Ateel said in a statement issued here informed that this year the Agriculture Department has set up 120 demonstration plots of cotton in 41 tehsils of 11 districts of South Punjab where IPM model has been fully implemented.

In this regard, the farmers cooperated and followed recommendations of the Department of Agriculture, South Punjab. He hinted that chemical spray on the cotton crop was delayed as much as possible from the beginning and as an alternative, bio-pesticides were used to control pests.

A survey was conducted by the experts of MNS Agricultural University to evaluate the usefulness of IPM model and the services provided to the farmers by the Department of Agriculture. To monitor the field experiments of IPM plots and other fields where plant extracts were used, teams of experts from MNS Agricultural University Multan conducted survey of 1200 farmers in all tehsils of South Punjab where demonstration plots were introduced.

According to the survey, 71 to 93 percent of the farmers said that they had been given guidance on IPM by the field staff of the Agriculture Department. About 92 percent of the farmers of Rahim Yar Khan and 90 percent from Bahawalpur sought information from the Department of Agriculture, said Saqib.

The same trend was noticed in other districts, stated Ateel. According to the survey, farmers who sprayed chemicals, ignoring departmental recommendations not only increased pest pressure on their crops but also got affected yields.

However, the secretary stated, the farmers who implemented IPM tools managed to reduce the cost per acre. At the same time, their production and profitability improved significantly. According to the survey report, IPM emerged as a successful model as low cost cultivation and higher profits encouraged farmers and they reiterated to cultivate more area in the future.

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