June 14, 2014- BR Report
Innovations in agriculture, increased awareness and adoption of good agronomic practices by farmers can help increase agricultural productivity. With progressive farmers adopting high yielding seeds and achieving yields at par with global yields, some farmers in Pakistan still fail to get the optimum yields because of various factors, especially ignoring the advice of experts/seed providers regarding crop management and using substandard seeds.
Agricultural experts stated this at a farmers’ event (field day) which was arranged by leading agricultural company Monsanto Pakistan at their research centre (Monsanto Research Centre) in Manga Madi, near Lahore. The field day, which drew around 200 farmers from different areas of Punjab, provided farmers the opportunity to ask researchers/experts questions and also to get answers on how to get optimum corn yield while reducing losses. The event focused on imparting education right from seed selection to the best agronomic practices for corn, sustainable agriculture and need for agro-innovations to boost crop productivity, thus increasing yields per acre for the farmer. Media representatives were also present on the occasion.
Farmers also visited demonstration plots of different maize hybrids, commended the field day, pointing out that they learned new things, and requested Monsanto to organise more field days that will serve as a learning platform for them. Muhammad Naeem Ashraf, a corn grower from Gojra, said: “Personally, this event is a great opportunity for me to learn. I would apply knowledge gained from this event in the field and hopefully I would get the optimum yield.” He said he has been successfully using corn hybrid seeds for the last few years because their yield is very high as compared to traditional or open-pollinated varieties (OPVs), between 80-120 maunds per acre compared with up to 40 maunds of traditional corn.
Briefing the media, Monsanto Pakistan Commercial Operations Lead Ilyas Nadeem said: “This event is our effort to ensure our corn farmers are equipped with the right information to help them produce higher yields on their farms.” He further added, “Monsanto will continue to invest in farmer agronomy training and newer technologies in line with our commitment to enhance corn productivity and improve farmers’ lives in Pakistan.”
Monsanto representatives informed that in Pakistan their company has been organising such events for the last few years and this Manga Madi event is first of the series of events which Monsanto Pakistan is holding this year. “Such events will also be organized in Sahiwal and Deepalpur on 17th and 19th of June 2014, respectively,” they said. To a question, Nadeem informed the journalists that although his company has so far been organising these events in Punjab only still from next year (2015) such events would be organized in KPK as well for farmers’ education there.