US-Pak experts suggest ways to farmer to best utilize water for crops

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ISLAMABAD, Oct 28 (APP): The top US and Pakistani experts in
water and agriculture got together here Wednesday to demonstrate
to the farmers the best practices in watershed rehabilitation and
help them store water for cutting its losses as it has become
a scarce resource.
They have been working together under a four-year project
worth $3.3 million undertaken by the US in 2011 to help
Pakistan utilize water more efficiently. They met again at a
two-day annual project meeting Tuesday to discuss the subject,
said a statement of the US Embassy here.
“By combining some old and new technologies, Pakistan’s
farmers can lead the way to wise water use at home and on
farmland,” said USDA National Conservation Technology
Specialist Cheryl Simmons.
The project is to strengthen the capacity of Pakistani agricultural institutions to show farmers ways to better capture and store
water, reduce the loss of water or soil, and more efficiently
water crops.
Their two-day meeting highlighted technologies and practices
such as solar-powered drip irrigation, simple drip
bucket irrigation, planting on raised beds and ridges, and
on-farm water storage methods.
The gathering also focused on innovative ways to share
these practices with farmers, such as short instructional
videos, farmer field days, and professional trainings.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has partnered
with the International Center for Agricultural Research in the
Dry Areas (ICARDA) and 11 Pakistani institutions on a project
to demonstrate and disseminate best practices and technologies
in watershed rehabilitation and irrigation improvement to
help rural Pakistani farmers.
“The watershed and irrigation improvement project has created a
lot of awareness among farmers, professionals, and policy
makers about techniques for efficient water use,” commented Dr.
Abdul Majid, Country Manager for ICARDA in Pakistan. USDA and ICARDA
work in partnership across the provinces of Punjab, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with two provincial agricultural research
institutes, three Pakistani universities, three institutes of
the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), a
provincial agricultural extension department, the Pakistan
Council of Research on Water Resources (PCRWR), and a
Pakistani agricultural NGO. Through this project, technical
experts from USDA visit Pakistan to provide trainings
and technical consultations to Pakistani partners, who
then conduct demonstration and dissemination activities with
local farmers, said the statement.