Faisalabad: Farmers are at the verge of using latest technology that offers five times more profit and productivity against traditional methods of farming, which is a step to improve the lifestyles of local communities and ensures food security in the country.
“In Pakistan, lack of cold storages, high cost of production and outdated agriculture infrastructure has decreased profits of the farmers over the years. But this tunnel farming is the handsome return on investment so as to grow off-season crops in a controlled atmosphere.
In tunnel farms, growers can have more plantations per acre by using hybrid seeds, pesticides, balanced fertilisers and irrigation. As a result, plants receive a smooth flow of nutrients and produce a good-quality product.
This new farming method has reduced the need for Indian vegetables as it provides off-season vegetables to the consumers, which were earlier imported from India.
There are three types of tunnel farming – low tunnels, walk-in tunnels and high tunnels – were going on in Pakistan, adding the farmers installed the tunnel infrastructure according to their financial capacity.
Low tunnels are less expensive compared to high tunnels and cost Rs30, 000 per acre. Soil preparation, spraying and picking is difficult in this type of tunnel. Mostly, small farmers opt for low tunnels.
Walk-in tunnels give a better yield compared to low tunnels, but have a higher infrastructure cost of Rs120, 000 per acre.
High tunnels give maximum yield and make soil preparation, spraying and picking easier because of their width and height. They cost Rs600, 000 per acre for installing the infrastructure. Mostly, big land owners invest in such tunnels.
Farmers say they are happy with the production of off-season vegetables and the good return on investment.
Agriculture is the mainstay of Pakistan’s economy that contributes 21% to the gross domestic product.