FAISALABAD: The country is losing as many as 15 percent of the wheat due to outdated thresher, combine harvesters and shortage of skilled operators. To overcome this, a strategy is being devised to address the issues at the national level to ensure self-sufficiency and food security while limiting the losses incurred during the harvesting phase.
Senator Nauman Wazir, Member Engineering Development Board addressed as a chief guest in the meeting regarding the standardization of agricultural implements at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad .
On this occasion, UAF Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan, Chairman Millat Tractor Sikandar Mustafa and Dr. Muhammad Azam Khan also spoke.
Nauman Wazir said that we imported 10 percent of wheat requirement this year. If we improve the efficiency of harvesters, it will not only ensure increase in production but also save billions of rupees in foreign exchange. He said that standards are being set up for performance of threshers and harvesters so that losses could be minimized by preventing substandard threshers.
He said that at the UAF, in collaboration with Washington State University, 30 new varieties of wheat resistant to climate are cultivated which have the potential to increase the yield from 32 manat per acre to 60 manat. He said that the students and staff of the UAF would provide guidance on harvesters at the doorsteps of farmers in March and April. Competitions will be held from April 15 about the thrashers and harvesters in Rahim Yar Khan. It is necessary to conduct short courses related to harvester drivers.
Dr. Iqrar Ahmad Khan said that 22,000 students of UAF visited the the doorsteps of farmers across the province to make them aware of modern trends in wheat sowing on the direction of Punjab government. He said that an awareness campaign on harvesters was essential, which could embarrass the dream of food security. He said that 30 new varieties of wheat have been cultivated in UAF in collaboration with Washington State University that have the potential to increase the average 60 mounds.
Dr Muhammad Azam said that the government should ban on the import of harnessers before 2010. He said that it was necessary to set up a subsidy system for the overhaul of harvesters.