Swiss Ambassador interacts with rice growers

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Staff Reporter

Sheikhupura

The capacity building training workshop was organized by Rice Partners Pvt. Ltd (RPL) in collaboration with MARS food, Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation. Ambassador of Switzerland to Pakistan Marc P. George participated in the training session and interacted with the Rice Partners Pvt Ltd contracted farmers. Talking to the participants he said, he has been in Pakistan for the last four years and it’s always a great honor for him when he communicates to the farmers.
Swiss Ambassador was briefed about the Rice Partners contracting and control farming program to improve the farmer’s livelihood by the Chief operating Officer Muhammad Ali Tariq. The chief operating officer has said, they are promoting sustainable rice production and water productivity in rice value chain with support of SDC, Helvetas Intercooperation and MARS food. He further added RPL started this contract farming program in 2011 with 31 farmers and now in 2017 RPL has more than 600 farmers in their contract, whom they procure rice/paddy every year, and send quality rice to the global market. Moreover, RPL has trained more than 10,000 farmers in sustainable agriculture, water productivity crop in rice value chain and crop management. RPL contract farming program help the farmers a lot in terms of low cost on crop production, water efficiency in the rice cultivation and livelihoods of the farmers have been improved.
The Swiss Ambassador appreciated the unique model of contract farming system in rice value chain by RPL, The Swiss ambassador also addressed to the rice farmers and said, his country also had the same water shortage issue but they have resolved it with good management. He added that no country can alleviate poverty & hunger without agriculture and similarly no country in the globe can tackle this challenge alone, we must work all together. He further added, he is happy that Swiss government is supporting the farmers of Pakistan to preserve the natural resources and produce quality product for entire world. He also discussed the historical relation of Pakistan and Switzerland and role of SDC for empowering the communities of Pakistan.
Then Swiss Ambassador visited the rice processing plant and took briefing about details of plant, machinery & working system. Mr. Saadet Munir Haider VP Technical gave comprehensive briefing to the guests. He highlighted the traceability mechanism of rice maintained by RPL right from farmer’s field to each shipment; it was greatly admired by Swiss Ambassador.
Project Manager WAPRO Mr. Zafar Iqbal gave a comprehensive presentation to Mr. Marc. P. George about contract farming system, outline of WAPRO project & its vitality in implementation of global best practices for improving resource use efficiency. He explained multiple interventions initiated under the WAPRO project like land Laser leveling, direct seeding of rice, use of AWD tubes to save irrigation water and post -harvest management practices to reduce harvest losses. During his presentation he said that, RPL is brining the farmers in technology world, they collect the information of all contractual farmers through mobile app. Farmers have adopted latest technologies to grow rice, with low cost of production, their yield has been improved and they are earning more to spend on their children education and health.