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Organic Farming Best for Quality Production


By Tariq Chaudhry
The Daily Mail - Pakistan
2008


Islamabad—Organic farming is the best option for producing
quality and healthy agriculture products on cheaper costs to
cater to domestic consumption needs besides attracting
international market.

“We have been spending huge amounts of foreign exchange on
fertilizer imports when the organic fertilizer is available in
the country,” Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC),
Chairman, Dr. Zaffar Altaf told with newsmen adding that only
this year the government has provided a subsidy of Rs.27
billion on fertilizers to the farmers. He said that there was
dire need that country’s farmers switch towards organic
farming to save billions of rupees spent on imports and earn
additional amounts as the organic products are much demanded
in the international market on higher prices as compared to
the products produced on chemical fertilizers.

He was of the view that sugarcane remains were the best
organic fertilizer and there were almost 83 sugarcane mills in
the country to utilize the remains, which otherwise goes
waste. There are other alternate sources of fertilizers, he
said adding that Thar Coal white ashes could be utilized as
alternate fertilizer which has 7.5 percent potash. Even banana
leaves and animal dung could be utilized as best kind of fertilizer.

He said that organic fertilizer not only produces healthy
produce but also helps maintain productivity of the soil while
the chemical fertilizers do damage the fertility of the soil
with the passage of time. He said that due to negative charge
of chemical fertilizer, the fertility of soil is affected,
however, the organic fertilizer has positive charge and
adjusts itself with the negative charge of soil, making it
more productive and maintains its fertility. Dr.Zafar Altaf
also stressed the need for awareness campaign to educate
farmers about the benefits of organic fertilizers, saying that
there was also need on policy side to encourage such initiatives.

“We have to change mindsets to lead the country towards
healthy and cheap agricultural production and help develop
sustainable economy,” he remarked.

To a question, Dr. Zaffar Altaf said that Pakistan has great
potential to grow quality tea adding that PARC has already
identified several sights for tea production in Azad Jammu and
Kashmir and Swat valley besides Shinkari area in Mansera
district.

Besides, he said a large of herb varieties were available in
various parts of the country including Northern Areas, which
could be capitalized by producing medicines. He said that the
council has also initiated work on projects aimed to produce
bio-fuel products, enabling the country to save huge amounts
spent on fuel imports.

“We have identified three salt tolerant plants including
Jatropha, Salicornia and Castor oil plant which could grow in
salt marshes on sea beaches and could even sustain for five
years without water,” he remarked.

He said that research work for Jatropha plantation has already
been completed and the council would soon order for importing
seeds of the plant to be cultivated in coastal areas of
Balochistan province. The PARC chairman was of the view that
instead of short-term policies, the country was in dire need
of developing long-term policies to help develop sustainable
economy in the country.

 

 

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