MULTAN    -   Promotion of agriculture re­search in hill torrents of Koh-e-Suleman area can help sustain farming by countering impacts of climate change.

The recent spell of heavy rains not only damaged the housing in­frastructure but also adversely af­fected the crops at six lakh acres in the districts of Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur.

According to agriculture ex­perts, most of the farmers here are employing traditional meth­ods of farming which are beyond the production potential. Climate change is a serious challenge which poses a real threat to the country’s farming sector.

A team of agriculture experts from Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture, led by Assistant Pro­fessor Dr Khurram Mubeen, is con­ducting the research activities in hill torrents for the last four years.

The teams noted that the local people were following traditional style farming. Majority of the farm­ers are using old seed varieties which are also affecting the en­hanced production, said Dr Khur­ram Mubeen here. Dr Khurram suggested a number of measures to improve farming in the area to improve productivity.

There are two types of soil in the hill torrent, hard soil and sandy soil. He proposed deep ploughing at hard soil as it would help save crops from excessive water in case of heavy rains. It will also improve soil fertility and ground water lev­el, which is essential to promote agriculture in the region. Use of Chisel plough is good for hard soil, he hinted. There is also an impres­sion that deep ploughing can cause soil erosion. He however rejected and stated that such field should not be irrigated directly but sec­ondary sources.

Secondly, there should be an early warning system to impart timely information to farmers and other residents about sudden climatic change as heavy rain. The liaison among people of dif­ferent areas in hill torrent is also essential in this regard, Khurram proposed. The farmers should do cross-ploughing.

A number of crops are being sown in the area. However, there is immense potential for pulses.

Government should also con­struct ponds to save water for ag­riculture purpose, added Dr Khur­ram. He suggested farmers to grow new varieties as it would help im­prove production remarkably.

About working of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Agri­culture, Dr Khurram stated that agriculture experts of the varsity were working in hill torrents for last four years. He stated that nearly 15 percent production im­proved at research plots, he dis­closed. There are multiple factors and in case these are followed properly then the production could improve further.

Dr Khurram also hinted about new soil layers of two to three feet, due to recent floods. It will also be a challenging situation. He how­ever suggested maximum research activities in the hill torrent to en­hance agriculture production and strengthen farmers economically.