Pakistan's Final Report to DFID

Abstract

  1. The goal of this DfID-funded project was to improve rural livelihoods through accelerated adoption of resource-conserving technologies (RCTs).

  2. Farmers in 2 villages in Sheikhupura district and 2 villages in Sialkot district were assigned to one of four socio-economic groups, i.e. landless, marginal, subsistence or food surplus/cash cropping, depending on their ability to take the risks involved in adopting new technologies.

  3. Data collected under Output 1 indicated that all socio-economic groups have benefited from using new varieties of rice (Basmati Super and Basmati 2000) and wheat (Pak 81, Lailpur 33 and Auquab) in terms of improved yields and economic return.

  4. Many farmers were confused regarding the benefits of using the DfID/New Zealand/Asian Development Bank-sponsored zero-till drill for wheat production, due to the fact that the two main government departments responsible for promoting its use (On Farm Water Management and Agricultural Extension) are in disagreement over its effectiveness.

  5. Project farmers who had experienced using the zero-till drill complained of soil compaction, increased pest problems in the following rice crop and lack of back-up support from the Department of Agricultural Extension.

  6. On investigating ways in which farmers access information, for Output 2, it was found that women depend on their husbands for all new information, while marginal and landless farmers are rarely contacted by extension workers. All socio-economic groups have access to TV and radio.

  7. Despite the wide range of institutions concerned with the promotion of RCTs they are not well co-ordinated and seem remote from poor farmers.

  8. Researchers recommended that more emphasis is put on disseminating information concerning RCTs at gatherings such as Haweli that involve marginal farmers. These farmers could also be organised into Citizen Community Boards so that they can access government funding for agricultural equipment, including zero-till drills. This equipment would be shared by marginal and subsistence farmers.

  9. 80% of women belong landless and marginal farming families. These women demanded information on vegetable production and food processing.

  10. CABI scientists collaborated with CARITAS Pakistan to create an enabling environment by developing a curriculum for disseminating information on zero-tillage to 100 subsistence and marginal farmers through Farmer Field Schools (FFSs).

  11. Wheat yields at three farmer practise (non zero-till plots) were 10-20% higher than wheat yields in FFS zero-till plots. However, cost benefit ratios (per acre) were higher in zero-tilled compared to non-zero-tilled plots, due to reduced labour costs.

  12. 118 subsistence and marginal farmers were convinced of the benefits of using zero tillage following visits to two large-scale commercial farmers who had been using zero-tillage for wheat production for the past five years. Both farmers stressed the savings they make in terms of time and labour costs, but admitted that extra deep ploughing is needed to break up the plough pan that develops and that a 20% increase in pests should be expected in the following rice crop.

  13. Farmers who attended the FFS were motivated to register as Citizen Community Boards and submit proposals for government funding to establish agricultural machinery pools.

  14. CABI scientists provided additional support through the production of training resources, including posters, pamphlets and a zero-tillage training manual in urdu and by building farmer capacity in repair and maintenance of zero-till machines.

Citation

Tahseen Jafry; Bushra Raza Ahmad; Poswal, A.; Gulam Ali. Pakistan’s Final Report to DFID. (2006) 69 pp.

Pakistan’s Final Report to DFID

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