Yet another "Green Revolution" has occurred in Pakistan. The old "Green Revolution" was a revolution?
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Background: Yet another "Green Revolution" has occurred in Pakistan. The old "Green Revolution" was a revolution in water and fertilisation and it heralded the new wheat variety of Mexi-Pak. The new "Green Revolution" is taking place in Pakistan in the arid areas. Most of the country receives inadequate rainfall to sustain crops. Normally 80 per cent of Pakistan's agriculture depends on the world's largest irrigation and canal system in the Indus Basin area. The rest of Pakistan's output is produced by rain-fed agriculture locally known as "Barani", Persian for "rain-fed". The inadequate supply of water has reduced the cultivable area to less than half.The amount of water available to the cultivators is very variable and inadequate to sustain optimum crop production.
Rain-fed farming covers and area of some seven million acres of land in Pakistan spread over 1.5 million farms. Seven million acres is comparatively a big area and the Pakistan Government has been priority to rain-fed agriculture. The farmers of Pakistan were impressed by the rise in crop yields of Mexican wheat and I.R.R.I. rice in irrigated areas. In the rain-fed agricultural areas of the Punjab and the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan the directorates of Integrated Rural Development with the active collaboration of USAID and CARE in Pakistan a wheat demonstration programme was launched. In the punjab 1584 demonstration plots were chosen and 200 in NW Frontier Province. The farmers who participated in these demonstration plots were given improved seeds free of cost. Trials were held in 200 villages. Wheat was planted in late October and early November. The demonstration fields were designed to show the difference in the yields of adjoining plots receiving different level of feritilizer application, and no fertlization.
The secret "weapon" of the New Green Revolution is called BARANT 70 WHEAT VARIETY. In an area which yielded an average of six maunds previously, the "Barani 70" improved seed yielded 20 to 50 maunds -- three to eight times! This was revolution indeed--the newest. "Barani 70" stunned the farmers. It was a revolution in raising crop yields. It was not an imported wheat seed. It was developed in Lyallpur in Pakistan where there is an agricultural university. The farmers were impressed by the role of improved seed which they are convinced is the proven method to raise crop yields. The response of farmers to new methods has always been remarkable. For them it was a real breakthrough in the rain-fed agricultural area where Baron 70 made the handicap of the low yield a thing of the past. This locally evolved, US-assisted wheat variety is to be sown extensively by farmers in a big way.
Pakistan Prime Minister Mr Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's Agricultural Special Assistant Malik Khuda Baksh Bucha visisted some of the demonstration plots some 30 miles form Rawalpindi and was convinced by the highly impressive yield of the Barani 70 wheat seeds, which he thought offered a long term solution to the low productivity of rain-fed areas. Malik Khuda Baksh went to the extent of hoping that Pakistan this year may not have to import any wheat!
The dramatic enlargement of the potential for rapid increase in the wheat output is a source of great hope for mostly arid Pakistan. That is why the performance of "Barani 70" is termed as a "New green revolution". The new green revolution is expected to spread very rapidly. The stagnant agriculture is enlivened by fresh breeze of newly evolved and successful seed variety. The rapid increase in yield in arid rain-fed areas will increase the cropped area of Pakistan providing more work to agricultural labour force. Water has always been the limiting factor of agriculture in Pakistan but "Barani 70" will enable many farms to realise the new benefits of the new green revolution.