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PARC Arid Zone Research Institute, Umerkot

OBJECTIVES 

  1. To establish a regional research capability under the leadership of central / Arid Zone research Institute to tackle the problems of arid/semi-arid agriculture of Thar and surrounding areas.

  2. Develop technique of the best land use in the arid region of Thar and adjoining irrigated belt of lower Sindh. Special emphasis will be given to the following aspects:
  1. Identify constraints in the development of crop, Livestock & Socio-economic problems in the region.

  2. Conduct research for finding solution to the identified problems.

  3. Collect and analyze the statistical data for the arid zones to determine the economics of various enterprise mixes.

MAIN DISCIPLINE OF RESEARCH / SECTIONS WITHIN INSTITUTE 

(I) Land and water management
(II) Crop Science
(III) Range Management

 

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT /ACHIEVEMENTS 

(I) Drip irrigation System

Drip irrigation is the frequent, slow application of water either directly onto the land surface or into the root zone of the crop. Drip/Trickle irrigation is based on the fundamental concepts of irrigating only the root zone of the crop (rather than the entire land surface) and maintaining the water content of the root zone at near optimum levels. Irrigating only a portion of the land surface limit evaporation reduces weed in growth and minimizes interruption cultural operations. Drip irrigation systems are often designed to supply water to only the root zone of the crop. It has been observed from the experiment the growth and yield is satisfactory of both Grafted ber and Falsa in the harsh condition of Thar Desert.

 

(II) Pitcher Irrigation

The good-old earthen pitcher may no longer be merely the poor man's water cooler. It has found a gainful application in agriculture as a micro-irrigation device in areas where water is scarce or slightly brackish. The technology for supplying water to plants through pitchers, evolved by AZRI (PARC) scientists, not only helps save water but also facilitates good crop yield and better returns to the growers. This eliminates wastage of water due to evaporation and over-supply even as it meets the plants' water requirement in an optimal manner. Simply stated, the pitcher irrigation technique involves burying pitchers in soil with their mouths above the surface to facilitate filling of water and planting crop seeds around them. The main advantage of the pitcher as a water delivery device is its low cost and local availability. Unglazed pitchers are needed, which are made by local potters all over the country.

 

(III) Introduction of high yielding low delta crops

After long continued screening studies two varieties namely SS-1 (Johar) sorghum and MS-1 (Bajra super-1) millet of PARC were selected and introduced among farmers of both irrigated (Umerkot) and rain fed areas of Thar Desert. Initially these were introduced in irrigated areas in 2002, where very encouraging results were obtained. Sorghum SS-1 variety gave average yield from 35-40 mds/acre, where as MS-1 between 28-30 mds/acre. The local variety yields between 7-8 mds/acre usually. In Thar areas 2004 (92mm) 2005 (56mm) of rain the season was very dry. The crop germinated well but could not performed very well, however during 2006, (340mm) of rain has been recorded. The seed was supplied to local Thari villagers in a big gathering organized in collaboration with NGO namely SCOPE. This year farmers are very happy. At one spot one seed of MS-1 gave 70 tillers of Bajra.

 

Targets

Experiments

Achievements

Development of  appropriate techniques for the optimum use of land and water resources in arid conditions of  Thar Desert.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Test and disseminate high yielding drought tolerant crop varieties in Thar Desert and adjoining irrigated belt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

Profitable utilization of desert lands and possible desertification control.

1. Evaluate the performance of
Grafted ber and Chiku under drip irrigation system.

 

 

 

 

2. Evaluate the performance of vegetables under pitcher irrigation system.

 

3. Screening of Sorghum, Millet and Maize varieties. (MSM program)

 

 

4.     Introduction of high yielding drought tolerant varieties

 

 

5.  Sesamean, millet, guara and mung beans on rainwater

 

 

 

7. Silvopastoral studies.

 

 
8. Medicinal plants studies

 

 

 

 

   
9. Live herbarium studies.

Zizyphus jojoba (Grafted Ber) and Chiku are growing successfully with and without drip irrigation under desert land condition of Thar Desert from March 2002 and September 05 respectively on more than 3 acres of land. The gap filling of plants have been completed. To make the system more efficient, the inter cropping of vegetables with grafted Ber and Chiku have been practiced during Kharif 2006 season but due to scorching temperature the vegetables could not survive. To utilize water more efficiently this modern irrigation technique was introduced. The data is collected regularly.

In order to save water and improve efficiency vegetables Pumpkin (Petha Kadu), Coriander (Dhania) and Gourd (Kadu) were grown. The data recorded the average highest yield was provided by Gourd 5.6 kg/pitcher followed by Pumpkin 4.7 kg/pitcher and Dhania has provided 4.2 kg/pitcher.

New experiment conducted recently on the different methods (simple pitcher, pitcher’s bottom painted with bitumen, pitcher’s warped with gunny begs and conventional flood irrigation) alonwith different water quality treatments, to assess the pitcher performance in the Thar desert for sustainable crop production.

The experiments of sorghum, millet were conducted under rainfed condition at the institute. The germination and growth is satisfactory and the data is collected regularly. The crop is at maturity and the results will be provided in the next quarter. The experiments of Sorghum, millet and maize in the irrigated area have been severely affected by heavy rainfall. The sorghum and millet experiments are severely affected but the maize trials are satisfactory.

Drought tolerant and high yielding varieties of Millet and Sorghum were introduced in Thar Desert. Seed of MS-I and SS-I varieties of Millet and Sorghum was given to more than 70 farmers in a field day jointly organized by SCOPE (NGO) and AZRI Umerkot at Mithi. . On 28th June 2006 initial crop was good because of good seasonal rainfall. At one site one seed of millet has given 70 tillers. Farmers look very happy with this PARC variety MS-1 

Sesamum, millet, mungbean and guara are sown as a rainfed crop at Umerkot. Sufficient rainfall is received this year and the crop is near to harvest. The data will be provided in the next quarter.

Lasiurus scindicus and Panicum turgidum grasses along with seven fodder and forage tree species are under study for their drought tolerance, symbiotic association and effect on soil characteristics. In an other study seven grasses viz Lasisurus scindicus (San), Panicum Turidum (Murt), Antidotale (Chambole), Cenchrus setigerus cv (Modo Bhurt), Cenchrus pennisetiforms (Bara Dhaman) were planted on rain with seed and through root stumps.

These species are highly palatable and high yielding. This produces grasses for animal feed round the year.   

Out of 40 medicinal herbs available at live herbarium of Desert flora at AZRI Umerkot ten plant species are studied in detail each year regarding their cultivation, know how marketing etc. This year work on following ten species is already started. Species are (Commifora mukul, Azadirachta indica, Citriulus colocynthis, Aloes, Euphorbia caudicifolia, Calotropis procera, Acacia Senegal, Acacia nilotica, Tamarind-us indica and Cassia angustifolia). Next year another group of ten species will be tested.

100 plant species maintained in live herbarium at AZRI Umerkot most of them are growing very well. Soils are sandy, 93% coarse and fine sand and only 7% silt plus clay. This shows that either these species are deep rooted and utilizes deep under ground water or have mechanism to get moisture from atmosphere. Due to good rains there is good vegetation cover, which has checked wind erosion. This year 2006 there were relatively good showers of rain, Up to 2006 nearly 340 mm of rain are recorded.

 

 

List of the Scientists with email address

S. No.

Name

E-mail Address

01

Mr. Yar Muhammad Memon, PSO/ Director

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02

Mr. Ghulam Shabir Bohio, SSO

 

03

Mr. Fateh Khan Nizamani, SSO

 

04

Mr. Ali Sher Chandio,  SO

 

05

Mr. Hamz Ali Samoon, AAE

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06

Mr. Muhammad Waseem, ASO

 

 

RESOURCE PERSON:

Dr. Yar Muhammad Memon

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Dr. Hamz Ali Samoon

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