Use of modern machinery can enhance rice production & export: Chairman PARC
Islamabad: Rice is the second major cash crop in Pakistan after wheat crop. It is grown in fertile lands of Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan region where millions of farmers rely on rice cultivation as their major source of employment. In year 2020-21 it was cultivated on 3.3 million hectares across the country, which produces around 8.5 million tons of paddy.
In Pakistan rice is less mechanized as compared to wheat crop. It’s sowing and harvesting is carried out manually by using labor force. The plant population achieved by manual transplantation of rice seedling is around 40,000-45,000 plants per acre which is very less as compared to recommended plant population of 80,000-85,000 plants per acre. Manual transplanting also results in late sowing of the crop. These factors significantly affect the crop yield. The average yield of rice crop in Pakistan is around 30-35 mounds per acre, while internationally it is more than 50 mounds per acre. Due to increased urbanization and industrialization in the country, labor shortage has become a major problem of farming community. Rice harvesting also carried out manually or by using reconditioned wheat combine harvesters with rice kit. By using manual techniques and reconditioned combine harvesters, lot of grainsget damaged and lost in the field. It is estimated that around 5-8 mounds of rice is lost and 10-15 percent is damaged due to use of reconditioned wheat combine harvesters with rice kits.
These problems can be resolved by using mechanized rice transplanting and head feeding type combine harvester for rice crop. Rice transplanter can easily transplant 80,000-125,000 plants per acre which helps to enhance the per acre productivity of rice crop. The grain losses and grain damage associated with head feeding type combine harvesters are 1-3 mounds per acre and 1-2 percent only.
A seminar / training program related to rice production machinery was organized by Agricultural Engineering Institute, NARC at Gujranwala under PSDP funded project “Productivity Enhancement of Rice-Rice Mechanization”. Worthy Chairman PARC Dr. Ghulam Muhammad Ali graced the occasion as Chief Guest. DG, AED PARC Engr. Zulfiqar Ali, Director Agri. Mechanization, AED PARC, Nat. Coordinator Rice/ Acting NPD PSDP Rice Project Dr. Muhammad Yousuf, Director Adaptive Research Gujranwala, Galaxy Rice Mills, Meskay and Femtee Trading Company, Dawood Agro Company, Chairman Sons Zarai Corporation and rice farmers attended the event. Awareness was provided to farmers about benefits of using rice production machinery for sowing and harvesting of rice crop to maximize the crop productivity. All the participants shared their experiences with farmers about mechanized production technology and motivated them to adopt this technology for enhancing the crop productivity. Chairman PARC also emphasized on use of modern rice production machinery and suitable varieties to enhance the production and rice export.
(Ghulam Shabbir Mirza)
Incharge (PR&P) PARC