Watercourse project to help increase crop yields in Punjab

Agricultural experts and farmers have hailed the Punjab government's decision to improve the watercourses, saying it would help increase crop yields.

In an interview with WealthPK, Dr Ali, a faculty member at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad, said the initiative would lead towards sustainable agriculture. 

He recalled that a similar project was launched in the past with a vision to pave all the watercourses to ensure farmers got enough water for irrigation. “However, the project could not be completed for unknown reasons.”  

He said the watercourses improvement project would transform the agriculture sector of Punjab as water is a crucial component of productivity. 

“The irrigation system needs improvement to ensure water availability to all farmers,” he stressed.
Responding to a question about the impact of the project on agriculture, Dr Khan, a faculty member of UAF, told WealthPK that Pakistan needs to improve the irrigation system as the current mechanism doesn’t benefit the tail-end farmers. He highlighted seepage as a significant water loss, which, if conserved, could boost productivity.  

He stressed the need for paving all watercourses across Punjab. He hoped that the project would drastically eradicate seepage, ensuring ample water for farmers. 

“We need to provide every drop of water to our struggling farmers,” he said. 

Bilal Ahmed, a farmer, hoped that the watercourse improvement project would help curb water wastage and resolve irrigation issues. 

He said water seepage from unpaved watercourses was damaging fields. Tail-end farmers, often deprived of water, resorted to theft as a consequence. 

During a briefing to Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz, secretary of the agriculture department Iftikhar Ali Sahoo said the improvement of 7,300 watercourses in the province would save 1.7 million-acre-foot of water.   

Another farmer, Muhammad Naseer, said a solid strategy is needed to solve the seepage issue. He said plenty of water is wasted due to seepage before reaching the fields. 

He said parched crops and lower yields are detrimental to farmers. Farmers are not getting adequate water to irrigate their lands due to seepage and broken watercourses. 

Naseer said the watercourse improvement project would benefit the province in multiple ways as it would prevent the canals’ breaches during torrential rains, thus protecting agriculture fields from floods.

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