Govt asked to incentivize growers to switch to organic farmingBreaking

May 10, 2024

Muhammad Saleem

Despite rising demand for organically-produced products, there has been no visible effort on the part of the government to foster organic farming by incentivizing the farmers. Salamat Ali, an industrialist, told WealthPK that organically-produced  crops are expensive as compared to those  grown using pesticides and fertilizers. He said it was difficult to find out certified sellers of organic pulses and vegetables on the market. He said promotion of organic farming was all the more important for a healthy nation. Bilal Ahmed, a farmer, said he wanted to switch to organic farming, but fear of financial losses was deterring him from adopting this venture. However, he said he had consulted agri-scientists on how to start organic farming with a minimum of investment. “Despite challenges in launching organic farming, I am hopeful I will find ways to adopt this segment,” he told WealthPK. Bilal said farmers, who wanted to go for organic farming, faced hurdles like extra labour as compared to conventional farming.

“It's a practice that growers offer share of their harvest to labourers. However, in organic farming this approach will not work initially due to the lower production,” he pointed out. Bilal said it would be a daunting task to find skilled labour for organic farming. “One needs deeper knowledge on how to tackle weeds and organic pests. Both tasks are time-consuming. Without proper knowledge and modern training, farmers should not embark on organic farming,” he noted. The farmer said that institutions in Pakistan lacked facilities to train farmers on the modern organic farming applications. Dr Muhammad Ali, a faculty member at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad, told WealthPK that demand for organic products was rising with every passing day. He noted that finding quality organic seeds on local markets was also an uphill task.  He said financial assistance by the government could help promote organic farming in Pakistan. 

Salamat Ali, the industrialist, said though prices of organic products were higher than conventionally grown produce, people were ready to pay high prices but not to compromise on their health. He said some people sold products on the market, claiming the products were organically produced, but there were doubts about their authenticity as they didn’t carry any organic certification. Dr Ali of the Faisalabad varsity said some government and private entities were exploring ways to capitalise on the growing demand, but organic farming had not achieved significant success in Pakistan. “Farmers are willing to invest their resources in organic farming, but they don't know how to do it.” He said the ample training required for organic farming was also missing. “Sooner than later, we have to adopt organic farming due to health and environmental issues. Our youth are tech-savvy. We have to develop their interest in organic farming through modern methods. This way, we can divert them towards the agriculture sector, which is currently not a priority for them,” he said.

Credit: INP-WealthPk