The Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) and the Centre for Excellence in Rural Development (CERD) have joined hands to equip farmers with the latest farming techniques to enable them to cultivate crops through tunnel farming.
A pilot project to this effect is underway across eight union councils in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, according to WealthPK.
CERD is employing the Farmer Field School (FFS) approach, which aims to train farmers via on-site training. “We have been working with a group of farmers for almost two and half years now,” said project manager Naeem, while talking to WealthPK.
He maintained, “We have created groups on WhatsApp where farmers can send their queries to technicians for help.”
“In the past, various agencies provided farmers with tools and training that lasted a year, which is not sufficient,” Naeem said. “Our approach is to provide them with equipment, multi-year training and the after-training support.”
He said CERD technicians have provided training and exposure to farmers over an entire cycle of production. “We are assisting them from nursery-raising to sale of produce and management of finances so as to enable them to raise nurseries next season as well.”
Naeem maintained that during the ongoing phase, cultivation of multiple off-season crops is taking place, including tomatoes, green peppers, etc. The tunnel farms have been divided into seven schemes, with each scheme comprising three tunnels. Each tunnel is 130 feet in length, 30 feet in width and 12 feet in height, he explained. The NERD project director said that tomato cultivation is of particular interest among all the stakeholders.—INP