Mechanization needed to boost Pakistan’s rice production

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan can further enhance its rice production and export by encouraging the use of mechanized methods of sowing  WealthPK  reported on Sunday.

Pakistan is the fourth-largest exporter of rice in the world. It has been using traditional methods of rice cultivation as compared to developed countries that are using modern machines for this purpose.

However, recently Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) conducted a field demonstration of the rice transplanter machine at the National Agricultural Research Center (NARC) in cooperation with Meskay & Femtee Trading Corporation.
A farmer from Narowal, Hamza Khalid, told WealthPK that using a modernized rice transplanter is beneficial for farmers in many ways. He said traditional methods of planting rice can only grow 70,000 to 80,000 plants per acre. By using a rice planter, the number of plants per acre can be increased up to 120,000, which significantly increases the crop production.
Secondly, through the traditional manual way, rice is planted in an asymmetric way. Some parts of the field could have more plants while some have fewer. By using a modern rice planter, the population per acre increases, and plants are sowed at equal distances.
According to another farmer, Muhammad Awais Zafar, Pakistan’s rice production had been 35 to 40 maunds per acre for the last 50 years. However, the use of rice planter has resulted in a significant increase in production at 65 to 70 maunds per acre.
Moreover, employing a rice transplanter can save labour cost. Planting rice in a manual way can take more time than in a mechanized way.
A rice planter is very beneficial for the farmers, but not every farmer can afford it. In this regard, the Government of Pakistan has started providing subsidies to farmers on rice planters so the cost could be minimized and more farmers could afford this mechanized method of farming.
It merits mentioning here that Pakistan is the 9th largest producer of rice in the world. To increase rice production, modern agriculture technologies are being used globally.

A record crop of 8.9 million tonnes of rice was harvested in Pakistan in the marketing year 2021-22, up from 8.4 million tonnes in the previous year, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).