RAWALPINDI - A delegation of the World Bank mission visited Punjab Agricultural Department at Shamsabad here on Wednesday.

The delegation comprised of Dr Gou Li (team leader), Ms Xueling Li, Ms Mah Ahmad, Babar Khan and Rubina Qambar. According to a spokesman, objective of the visit was to evaluate the impact factor of completed schemes of a project which Water Management wing of Punjab Agriculture Department has installed drip and sprinkler irrigation system on an area of 65,000 acres in Punjab with 60 per cent subsidy, out of which 14,000 acres of area is in Rawalpindi Division.

This high-efficiency irrigation system saves 60 to 70 per cent of water as compared to conventional flood irrigation system, he said. Speaking on the occasion, the WB mission head Dr Gou Li said that Punjab Irrigation Agriculture Productivity Improvement Project was boosting agriculture in Punjab.

He said that in Pakistan, major portion of water was used for irrigation while the county was facing shortage of water. In these circumstances, drip and sprinkler irrigation system is very suitable for uneven lands like Potohar track.

The additional advantage is that we can use fertilizer along with water through the Drip and Sprinkler Irrigation System according to requirements of plants. The mission visited different farms where high-efficiency irrigation system has been installed under the World Bank project. The farmers who benefited from the project told the mission that they were now getting high yield as compared to the conventional flood irrigation system. The Mission also inaugurated new schemes of drip irrigation system in Tehsil Kallar Kahar of District Chakwal. Director General Water Management Malik Akram briefed the Mission that due to installations of drip and sprinkler irrigation system, the trend of grapes, olive and peach cultivation was increasing day by day in Potohar Region. He added that irrigating uneven lands in the region was a difficult task in the past but the problem had now been solved with the help of installation of drip and sprinkler irrigation system.

Now farmers are also getting high yield of vegetables through tunnel farming with the help of drip irrigation system, he said.