Giving farmers a competitive edge with training
Hands-on experience is the quickest way to learn new skills and production methods
AVRDC South Asia aims to address some of the technological challenges farmers face in Pakistan face by equipping them with technical skills through training. Recent activities organized in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh covered healthy vegetable seedling production; off-season vegetable cultivation; integrated pest management; and postharvest technologies for mungbean.
Value addition in vegetables: Sherqila, despite being in a remote corner of Northern Pakistan has immense potential for vegetable production by women farmers. Postharvest losses are a big challenge; tomatoes are dried and stored for the off-season, but due to unfavorable climatic conditions, the produce often spoils. AVRDC South Asia organized a one-day training program for women farmers in the region to make them aware of methods to minimize losses by transforming fresh produce into products like paste and ketchup to extend shelf life, overcome spoilage, and fetch high returns. AVRDC Research Associate Tabassum Zaman facilitated the program, and Syeda Mashal, Agriculture Officer, Agriculture Extension Department, Gilgit served as the resource person.
Importance and role of healthy vegetable seedlings and compost for vegetable production: Thirty-eight farmers from DI Khan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa learned how to raise and manage vegetable seedlings in nurseries and how to make compost for use in vegetable production to reduce fertilizer costs in a program hosted by staff of the Agricultural Research Institute (S) DI Khan and AVRDC. Program resource staff discussed the benefits of the improved production methods, and the farmers appreciated the practical sessions and demonstrations of these low-cost, high-value techniques.
Off-season vegetable cultivation and integrated pest management: Women farmers in Chevenda and Hatian learned about tunnel production of vegetables during two field training sessions. The farmers were introduced to tunnel technology, discussed its benefits, and reviewed common problems with pests and diseases in tunnel production.
Postharvest issues for mungbean: Methods to reduce stored mungbean losses by 20-30% were the focus of a training program organized for farmers, scientists, agriculture extension workers, and agricultural college teaching staff at the Quaid-e-Awam Agriculture Research Institute (QAARI), Larkana. Thirty-one participants were made aware of the use of mungbean as a catch crop in rice-wheat cropping systems and relevant postharvest technologies.
Growing mungbean as a double crop under rainfed conditions: A field day on mungbean cultivation as a double crop in the wheat-fallow cropping system of Pothwar region was recently organized by the Pulses Program, Crop Sciences Institute (CSI), NARC, Islamabad at Pindi Gujran village. About 120 farmers were briefed on techniques to improve mungbean production, including mechanization. AVRDC staff attended the event.
Story and photos: Sreeram Banda, Mansab Ali, Shernabi Khan