• Google Plus
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • Pakistan Agriculture and Farming Cover

    Welcome to PakAgriFarming

    PakAgriFarming is commited to high standards in extension of agriculture in Pakistan through simple and factual information and topics related to the hottest issues in Pakistan Agriculture.

  • Approved cotton varieties for Punjab 2014

    کپاس کی کاشت کے لیے موزوں اقسام

    پنجاب میں کپاس کی کاشت کا آغاز ہو نے والا ہے اور پیشتر علاقوں میں میں رنیع کی فصل کی برداشت کا وقت قرہب ہے۔ اس لیے بروقت کپاس کے بیج کا انتخاب اچھی پیداوار حاصل کرنے کی طرف پہلا قدم ہے۔۔۔

  • Introduction, characteristics and objectives of tillage

    Intoduction and Objectives of Tillage

    Tillage is the primary requirement before any cropping activity. Perhaps, if one is ignorant about tillage, he knows nothing about farming. So, let's look into a brief intro...

  • The Next 10 Years of Tunnel Farming in Pakistan

    The Next 10 Years of Tunnel Farming in Pakistan

    It's been 10 years since the introduction of tunnel farming in Pakistan, the conversion rate has been slow but are there any chance of rapid growth of tunnel farming in Pakistan? Let's disover...

  • Wheat Production Technology for Rainfed Areas of Punjab for 2013-14

    Wheat Production Technology for Rainfed Areas of Punjab for 2013-14

    Wheat is the most important cereal crop in Pakistan and staple food. Wheat has a large share of cultivated land in rabi season and hence large production is expected...


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Next 10 Years of Tunnel Farming in Pakistan

Posted by Shakil Shaukat On Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Is tunnel farming the solution for problems of progressive farmers in Pakistan? Is the tunnel technology becoming popular in Pakistan? The answers to these questions is very sophisticated and the progress in the acceptance to the tunnel technology has been slow since its introduction in the country around ten years ago. The intensive, out-of-season farming carried out in tunnels is certainly promising both in terms of production and income return to the farmer.
Tunnel farming in Pakistan
Fruit & Vegetable Development Project (FDVP)
The first major project related to tunnel farming was ‘fruit & vegetable development project’ approved by agriculture department of the government of Punjab in 2005. It was one of the flag-bearing initiatives which lead the way forward for establishing the importance of tunnel farming in Pakistan. In the first phase of promoting tunnel farming, six tehsils were selected for establishing model tunnels with the assistance of progressive farmers. The program also included extension services through ‘farmer field schools’ and training of extension workers for helping farming regarding tunnel farming. 

Role of Non-Government Organizations and Internet

In the recent times of freedom of speech, care for rights and bulk of funding from private agencies, a number of non-government organizations have also stepped in for farmer awareness. The work done by NGOs, agricultural corporation and agri-based websites in Pakistan have also sprung up to a record level. This has helped the common farmer and especially the educated and progressive farmer community is taking most of the advantage from the services of these sources for awareness, feasibility reports, on-field training and other sorts of guidance. 
There are many agriculture website, Facebook & google+ pages and online newspapers who have done commendable efforts to promote tunnel farming in Pakistan and PakAgriFarming has also been up to the task, ensuring the right agri-knowledge has reached to the concerned agri-community.

Promises and Issues

The most plausible feature of tunnel farming has always been the high yields and good income return rates. Once established, the tunnels can be ‘the gold egg laying hens’ for the farmers. Vertical farming of cucurbits, tomato, chilies, melons, gourds and other vegetables is cost-effective and the vegetables are also rich in nutrition. 
The issues, however, seem much like a big hurdle from the initial cost of setting up the basic structure for tunnels (especially high tunnels and walk through tunnels to some extent), requirements of high rates of fertilizer application, elevated use of fungicide and herbicide sprays. These factors considered together might have implications of their own.
The initial cost of setting up, may be high but, once setup the returns are high and the income return rates are high compared to any other form of cultivation practices. Then is the issue of management, the yield is only as good as the farm manager wants to; so if the tunnels are maintained with diligence there would be no issues of malnutrition, exhaustion of soil nutrients and the yields will be enormous. 

Present Scenario and the Way Forward for Tunnel Technology in Pakistan

The future of tunnel farming is bright in Pakistan and the adoption rate of the farmers to this technology has been progressive in the recent years and more tunnels are being established. Tunnels can now be seen in almost 70% agricultural lands of Punjab, and fewer in Sindh, too. Most of the agricultural zones which have potential for vegetables and fruits cultivation is attracted to tunnel farming. 
Then there is the support programs by the government agriculture departments, NGOs and commercial bank have also offered attractive loan schemes for setting up tunnels. The progressive farmers who own greater pieces of land can benefits from these schemes as well as medium farmer who have less than 10 acres of land. 
So, keeping in view the recent improvements and promotion packages, the acreage of land with tunnels is expected to expand to almost 25-40% of all the cultivated land in Punjab, and around 10% of cultivated lands in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh. The high number of tunnels will also mean a change in the cropping patterns, technologies, implements and inputs. This will also affect the dominant agricultural commodities in the markets and the zones will haves to be defined. 

The Winds of Change

The support from government may also decrease with increased number of farmers associated with tunnels, however, the loan schemes from banks are going to be the turning point if tunnel farming growth is to be continued. 
We will be witnessing a change in the agricultural landscape since agricultural land is already shrinking at accelerated rates in the recent years due to poor land reforms from the government, lack of control over the housing societies and unfair taxation policy for the farmers. In the light of all these events, tunnel farming can be a relief for the farmer community in coming five to ten years.