Reclaiming waterlogged and saline land in Pakistan

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The Agriculture department mentioned that special attention has desirous about reclamation of water-logging and salinity hit land in different district of the Punjab.

Sources in Agriculture division informed Business Recorder on Sunday that the reclamation is the process of changing land that rendered unfit for farming and the reclamation programme can be supportive in making water-logging and salinity hit land cultivable in across the Province. The govt was once making ok preparations for making the programme a hit for achieving yielding results resources added. The Agriculture department used to be trying its utmost to introduce new modes of irrigation to avoid wasting the water thru modern irrigation gadget.

AFTER having reclaimed his small piece of salt-affected agriculture land, aged farmer Murad Ali Shar is quite enthusiastic about cultivating the wheat crop.

Until now, he has no longer been able to cultivate wheat because of waterlogging and salinity. However, Eucalyptus tree supplied by way of NGO Research and Development Foundation (RDF) got here to his rescue and he succeeded in reclaiming his land, positioned in Sanghar district’s Khipro taluka.

“I was unaware of this species of tree that helps reclaim farmland,” he says, including that he planted 800 bushes on 2.5 acres and it helped enhance 12 acres. Later, he grew any other 2,000 bushes in 2018.

Salinity and waterlogging adversely affect soil fertility. Ultimately, growers have to leave such lands unattended, shedding major plants. Salinity is noticeable in many portions of Sindh, particularly within the coastal strip owing to speedy and never-ending sea intrusion in the absence of freshwater flows downstream Kotri barrage. Freshwater flows help repulse sea in Sindh’s deltaic area.

Most portions of Sindh have brackish groundwater reserves. These are used for watering fields via farmers due to interprovincial water problems and mismanagement inside of Sindh. For sweet water flows, farmers depend on water equipped thru 14 main canals of three barrages within the province.

Multiple problems lead to salinity in Sindh, including mother or father soil subject matter, low rains, the rising underground water desk, the absence of an effective drainage gadget and extending temperatures

In another intervention, the RDF supported the plantation of acacia tree (called hurri plantation in native parlance) to assist farmers reclaim salt-affected land in the similar space. Farmer Qaim Deen Leghari says he has effectively reclaimed 12 acres of salt-affected soil by planting acacia tree. “Ever since I grew acacia tree on my land, I found signs of salinity disappearing. The tree has also benefited the adjacent area of around 20 acres where I have now grown mustard seed,” he says.

Mr Leghari’s land in Sanghar was once hit via waterlogging and salinity after torrential rains of 2011 which ended in flooding. Since the Left Bank Outfall Drain didn’t perform in the area for more than a few reasons, it made his land unproductive.

The RDF is imposing a Climate Resilient Livelihood Program in Sanghar district’s Khipro taluka with the assistance of German NGO Kindernothilfe (KNH) and German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Hurri plantation is all about block plantation way of Acacia nilotica, an indigenous species. Plantation is an outdated agro-forestry follow to combat land degradation and reclaim soil fertility in Sindh. Being one of the most oldest species, acacia is widely grown in Sindh’s riverine belt — or katcha space — and is basically meant for forests.

Sindh’s cabinet has lately licensed a new wooded area policy after having accomplished away with the previous one, which allowed the usage of forestland for agriculture functions together with forests.

Updated statistics aren’t to be had relating to the real collection of acreages hit by way of waterlogging and salinity. Quoting figures from 1998, Dr Inayat Rajpar, chairman of the Department of Soil Sciences on the Sindh Agriculture University (SAU) of Tandojam, says that 41laptop of Sindh’s agriculture land is salt affected.

“Of Pakistan’s 6.3m hectares of salt-affected land, 2.1m hectares are located in Sindh,” he says, adding that the SAU promotes bio-saline agriculture among farmers because it’s the best way to combat salinity and waterlogging.

Experts say a couple of issues lead to salinity in Sindh, including mother or father soil subject matter, low rains, rising underground water desk, the absence of an efficient drainage machine and increasing temperatures.

Dr Rajpar says the SAU strongly recommends the cultivation of species of crops and crops which are salt tolerant in such pieces of land as a substitute of wasting time on reclaiming it. One of his PhD students has screened 28 different forms of guar having salt content for cultivation in Tharparkar.

“Our farmers should opt for fodder cultivation or crops like barley which are salt tolerant. With this approach, we can overcome our economic losses running into millions,” he says. Eucalyptus tree helps keep an eye on waterlogging if the extent of underground is beneath 10 ft from the surface coupled with the usage of freshwater to flush out salts.

Sindh’s agriculture department is executing two separate schemes for reclaiming salt-affected soil in different districts of Sindh. Initially, a scheme to reclaim saline soil was introduced in 2016-17 in Jacobabad, Shikarpur, Kashmore, Khairpur, Mirpurkhas, Thatta, Badin, Ghotki and Larkana districts the place land was reclaimed through the use of gypsum, sulphuric acid and ammonium sulphate on growers’ programs.

Out of the focused 12,000 acres, round nine,600 acres were reclaimed. The land is now cultivable, in step with Nabi Bux Jamro, an agriculture chemist at the Quaid-i-Avam Agriculture Research Institute.

Another such scheme was launched in 2017-18 and continues to be being executed in districts of Qambar Shahdadkot, Sukkur, Benazirabad, Dadu, Tando Mohammad Khan, Tando Allahyar, Thatta and Sujawal, focusing 7,620 acres. Under this scheme, 840 acres of land has been stepped forward, 2,340 acres are underneath development and another three,360 acres could be reclaimed if the funding continues.

Agriculture division stated that particular consideration used to be being paid to reclamation of water-logged and salinity-hit land in different districts of Punjab.

Sources in Agriculture department informed APP on Wednesday explained that govt was taking steps for imposing the programme in an effort to reinforce agri yields, sources added.

Agriculture division was making an attempt its utmost to introduce new modes of irrigation to avoid wasting water through fashionable irrigation system. The division was once making efforts to encourage the grower group that should undertake trendy irrigation modes together with drip sprinklers.

Sources said about 25 % canal water, 30 percent water courses and 35 % water is wasted in agriculture fields from to be had water resources on account of which availability of water gets reduced to 45 million acre ft while required water quantity is 65 million acres feet required by crops yearly in Punjab.

According to experts, farmers should undertake trendy irrigation strategies for preventing wastage of irrigation water. The adoption of recent irrigation device will lend a hand save 40 to 60 percent water as smartly,experts claimed.

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