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Solar-powered irrigation system being planned

The KPK has decided to use millions of acres of barren land to produce solar energy for the irrigation purpose.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to bring millions of acres of barren land from Nizampur to Dera Ismail Khan under cultivation by introducing solar system to ensure electricity supply for irrigation.

Besides, the government will also initially import 500 saplings of different fruits like apricot, grapes, almond and pomegranate from Afghanistan so that fine quality products could be introduced in the market.

The decisions were taken at a meeting, chaired by agriculture minister Arbab Ayub Jan here at civil secretariat on Thursday. The minister said that the provincial government had agreed to support the project. He regretted that despite sufficient water resources the Agriculture Engineering Department could not prepare a feasible scheme in this regard.

He said that 550 tube-wells had been approved in the annual development programme, but the department had failed to show any progress in this regard.

Mr Jan said that exploring new water resources for meeting the needs of people and livestock was urgently needed. He said that the government was determined to bring barren land in Lakki Marwat, Dera Ismail Khan and Karak under cultivation. He asked the researchers to focus on seasonal and other vegetables and fruit to increase quality production.

The minister also approved a project of new variety of sugarcane ‘Chasham’. With the cultivation of refined seeds the government will be able to save money, time, transportation charges and labour.

He said that by introducing the new seeds the farmers would be able to meet their requirement from 1,000kg of seeds instead of cultivating 80,000kg of sugarcane seeds.

He said that olive production would also be increased as the government could earn Rs4 billion a year foreign exchange with cultivation of only 400,000 olive plants after every five years.

Secretary agriculture Afsar Khan, directors general of agriculture extension, agriculture research and water management attended the meeting.

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