LAHORE – Punjab government will spend Rs 36 billion on ‘Punjab Irrigated – Agriculture Productivity Improvement Project” (PIPIP) to bring revolutionary change in irrigation sector.

This was said during a project briefing session to representatives of World Bank (co-sponsor), farmers and technical experts here at Agriculture House on Friday. Irrigated agriculture is the lifeline of Pakistan`s economy contributing 90 percent of total agricultural output (over 21 percent in GDP). Over 70 percent cropped area of Indus food machine is situated in Punjab producing about 80 percent cotton, 70 percent wheat, about 60 percent sugarcane and 50 percent rice out of total production of these crops in Pakistan. Availability of water for agriculture sector is becoming a challenge as more than 40 percent of canal water is lost between mogha outlet and farmer’s fields due to poor condition of tertiary conveyance system and to cope the challenge of water scarcity in agriculture sector Government of Punjab with co-sponsorships of World Bank has launched mega project. The project will cover the entire Punjab province over a period of 6 years. Drip and sprinkler irrigated system will be installed on 120,000 acres with a cost of Rs.13716.84 million, 3000 Laser units will be provided to farmers on subsidized rates the cost of which is Rs 4800 million. Rs 225,000 will be provided to each farmer to purchase the Laser unit. Rehabilitation and up-gradation of existing tertiary system will cost Rs 12361.566 million to enhance water conveyance efficiency. PIPIP will support improvement of 5500 unimproved canal irrigated water courses at an estimated cost of Rs 9767.12 million. 1500 improved water courses during the last 35 years which need to be improved again with the cost of Rs 1625.20 million. 2000 new irrigating schemes at the cost of Rs 969.25 million will be completed under this project. This project will identify, evaluate and promote modern irrigation technologies through research, awareness creation and demonstration at farmer field level. Modern technologies like GIS, RS, and satellite will be used for monitoring of this project. Three regional projects coordination units will be established at Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi to provide technical support, capacity building and training to all stakeholders of the project at a cost of Rs 4352.29 million. Mian Khalid, Director EIA, Ch Irshad Ahmad, Director Head Quarter, Dr Maqsood Ahmad, Project Director PRB, Malik Muhammad Ikram, Project Director HEIS, Umer Khalid, Environmental Expert (World Bank), farmers and members of civil society attended in the project briefing.

training course: The Fisheries Research and Training Institute Manawan, Lahore is holding a five days training course on ‘prosperity through fish farming’ from March 5-9, 2012. The objective of this training is to provide essential modern scientific techniques about aquaculture/fish farming and information about soil and water analysis to the farmers.