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Adopting drip irrigation

July 15, 2012

THE Planning Commission has proposed ‘commercial irrigation’ as a long-term solution to conservation by treating water as an economic good, especially in the face of emerging challenges of climate changes (July 8).

It is great that Planning Commission is seriously thinking on these lines. It would be nice if the Planning Commission also evaluates, proposes and facilitates extensive use of water conservation techniques like the lining of canals by geomembrane, drip irrigation systems, tunnel farming, mulching, rain and grey water harvesting.

All of the above are internationally-proven systems and have also successfully been demonstrated across Pakistan. Some are done through government-sponsored schemes, while others have been done by progressive farmers like the famous Allah Buksh of Gadap town Karachi.

Pakistan is a ‘water stressed’ country. It will become ‘water starved’ in the next couple of years due to steep population growth. Israel is already ‘water starved’ and long ago they decided to use this precious commodity efficiently.

The world owes most of the advancements in the modern drip irrigation systems to Israel.

They use one-third amount of water Pakistanis use per capita and their agricultural produce is three times more than us per capita.

We level the land through costly laser technique and jump with joy seeing water flooding every nook and corner.

Little do we realise that by flooding the fields we waste about 80 per cent of water. This water flows to areas where there are no seeds, plants or trees.

Most of our educated farmers do not know that we can do watering of plants by drip irrigation on uneven fields even on sand dunes and hillocks.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai have used drip irrigation techniques extensively in such conditions.

It does not require a rocket scientist to figure out how to do the above. We just have to spot the pockets of brilliance in the field of agriculture around us and follow those. The government should support such activities.