Green Tractor Scheme revived
LAHORE, June 16: The Punjab government on Monday announced restarting the “Green Tractor Scheme” and allocated Rs1 billion for subsidising 100,000 tractors for farmers holding less than 12.5 acres of land.
Making his proposed budget statement in the Punjab Assembly, the finance minister said the government would subsidise each tractor by Rs100,000 and distribute it by a computer draw.
He claimed it would be a joint leap for farm mechanisation that had eluded the country for over 60 years.
The minister said the literate rural youth who had less than four acres would be given 12.5 acres of state land on lease in order to improve supply of fresh vegetables to the cities. Under the scheme, the government would distribute around 60,000 acres, which include fields along river banks.
Under the agriculture budget, the government has allocated Rs3 billion for water management, agriculture extension, mechanisation and the Punjab Agriculture Research Board.
The budget document maintains that the government will concentrate on food security, growth rate, employment generation and poverty reduction. It will reduce yield gap between progressive and common farmer, promote efficient use of water through precision land levelling and high efficiency irrigation systems. Import substitution of oil by enhancing production, ensuring availability of agriculture credit, improving farmers’ income through support price mechanism, reducing post-harvest losses, promoting value-addition, improving market infrastructure, efficiency in use of inputs — seed, fertiliser and pesticides — and strengthening of research and extension institution and improving their linkages and coordination are some of the salient features of the objectives.
The strategy of intervention will target food security through productivity enhancement of wheat at a cost of Rs1 billion. Under the scheme, 25,000 (one in each village) small farmers demonstration farms will be developed and seed-cum-fertiliser (15,000 units of brand placement drills) and 75,000 spray machines will be distributed through a ballot on a 50 per cent subsidy.
The government will also provide incentives to high wheat producers and rehabilitate marginal lands for cereal production in four districts — Kasur, Sheikhupura, Gujranwala and Nankana Sahib — at a cost of Rs200 million. The strategy will also include rehabilitation of marginal lands through soil treatment like gypsum, efficient use of water and social mobilisation. Promotion of tunnel technology, provision of 840 such tunnels to farmers on subsidised rates and farm mechanisation are major steps the Punjab government wants to take.
The government also wants to promote high precision irrigation with the help of Chinese experts, who will install such systems on 2,500 acres for demonstration and training purposes.
Source: The Nation