INTERVIEW WITH MR. AHMED NAWAZ NAICH, AGRICULTURE SCIENTIST

KHALIL AHMED
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

Aug 6 - 12, 20
12

PROFILE:

One of Pakistan's renowned agriculture scientist, Mr. Ahmed Nawaz Niach ,was born on 1.8.1949 in a small village (Kursuleman) Taluka Kambar District Larkana, Sindh. He started primary education in his native village, then he got his matriculation from Municipal High School Kambar & M.Sc (Agri) Hons from Sindh University Jamshoro. Mr. Niach started his professional career with the post of Research Assistant later as Assistant Research Officer BPS-17 from 5th March 1975. He was promoted in BPS-18 & posted as Deputy Director, Sindh Horticulture Research Institute, Mirpurkhas . He also served as Sugarcane Specialist, Director Quaid-e-Awam Agriculture Research Institute Larkana, Director Rice Research Institute Dokri & Director Wheat Research Institute Sakrand and got retirement on 31st July 2009. He participated in several National & International seminars and workshops in China & Philippines etc.

PAGE: COULD YOU TELL US ABOUT SOME OF YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS IN THE FIELD OF AGRICULTURE?

AHMED NAWAZ NAICH: I mostly worked on sugarcane crop with the main objectives to create new high yielding varieties, rich in sugar, free from insect pest and diseases & to develop the latest production technologies. I succeeded with two high yielding sugarcane varieties namely Larkana-2001 & Chandka having the average cane yield 1500 to 2000 & 1500 to 1600 mds/acre with the average sugar recovery 11 & 10.5% respectively. The average cane yield of Sindh is only 500 to 525 mds per acre whereas my varieties are giving the average cane yield three times more than the average yield of Sindh. There are three other high yielding varieties LRK-2004, Ganj Bakhash & LRK-2003 of mine in pipeline. Experimental process of these varieties has been completed and would be released in very near future.

PAGE: WHAT ARE THE QUALITIES OF THE VARIETIES TO BE RELEASED?

AHMED NAWAZ NAICH: The varieties LRK-2004 & Ganj Bakhash have similar average cane yield that is 1500 to 2000 mds/acre but both the varieties contain sugar recovery differently i.e. 11 & 12% respectively. Ganjk Bakhash variety is early maturing which can be harvested during the month of November. The vacant land could be utilized for wheat cultivation well in time. Whereas LRK-2004 is tolerant to drought. LRK-2003 is very rich in sugar. Its sugar recovery is 12.5% with the cane yield 1200 to 1500 mds/acre.

PAGE: HAVE YOU WORKED ON OTHER CROPS?

AHMED NAWAZ NAICH: Yes, I rendered my services as Director Rice, Director Wheat & Director Quaid-e-Awam Agriculture Research Institute & introduced latest road maps for conducting research looking into the current and future challenges and contributed a lot. My contribution details are following:

1. Evaluation of new non-aerometric varieties DR-57 & DR-58.

2. Popularized the Alternate Drying and Wetting (ADW) irrigation system to avoid flooding in the crop and saving of the irrigation water. Also to avoid seepage and salinity. Similarly, contributed to bring about new wheat varieties SKD-II & GQ-9.

SKD-II is the late sowing variety. Its yield per acre is 10 to 15% more than the existing high yielding variety TJ-83.

There is a big shortage of seed of late sowing varieties. About 60 to 70% area goes under late sowing because of late harvesting of paddy, sugarcane & cotton crops. This variety is very suitable for late sowing areas.

The variety GQ-9 has similar height i.e. 1 to 1.5 feet with more tillers and length of ear head than the existing variety TD-I. This variety consumes less quantity of chemical fertilizer than TD-I. The yield recorded so far is up to 10% more than TD-I.

PAGE: WHAT ARE THE CURRENT ISSUES OF AGRICULTURE SECTOR?

AHMED NAWAZ NAICH: The major current issues of Agriculture sector are:

i) Shortage and late availability of irrigation water

ii) Non availability of pure seed of early mid and late varieties

iii) Non availability of inputs like chemical fertilizers, pesticides, etc. at proper time as per requirement.

iv) Adulteration in all inputs.

v) Shortage of land preparation machinery and equipment.

vi) Unawareness for adaptation of latest production technology.

vii) Shortage and non-functioning of soil and water testing laboratories.

viii) High rates of inputs.

ix) Undesirable rates of the produce.

x) High rates of petroleum commodities.

FOLLOWING ARE THE REMEDIES:

1. Govt. should ensure timely availability of required quantity of irrigation water so that all the groups of varieties may be sown at their proper time to have the maximum per acre yield.

a) Judicious use of irrigation water.

b) Irrigation network severely damaged by rains and floods may be got improved.

c) Proper land leveling.

d) Lining of the watercourse and channels.

e) Use of FYM (Farm Yard Manure), sowing of leguminous corps and buried / plowed up in the soil so as to retain the soil moisture for longer time and improvement soils fertility.

f) Popularize and adopt sowings on ridges.

2- Availability of pure seed of early, mid and late varieties may be ensured so that those may be sown at their proper sowing time under required temperature.

a) Pure seed should be of current year, free from insect pest & diseases.

b) Seed should have at least 90% germination capacity.

c) Certified seed may be obtained from any Govt. organization.

d) Use seed of approved verities.

e) Avoid to sow un approved varieties.

f) Avoid to purchase the seed from un-registered companies.

It is observed that a huge number of un-registered seed companies are involved in seed sale of unapproved varieties, out of those, some have been found with diseased resulted reduction in per acre yield. There are different kinds of disease like seed born, soil born, air born, fungal diseases. These all are very harmful not only for the crops but for human beings and animals also. So avoid the use of unapproved varieties and discourage such type of un-registered seed companies.

3- It has mostly been seen that the chemical fertilizers are not available at the proper time of their application resulting decrease in the per acre yield. The ?availability may therefore be ensured at proper time.

4- The concerned authorities should keep strict watch on adulteration of all inputs.

5- a) Preparation of land plays an important role to have maximum produce. Most of the lands are not properly leveled resulting in un-desirable per acre yields. Therefore, the Govt. should provide the land leveling equipment and machinery to the growers on subsidized rates.

b) Deep tillage implements should be made available on affordable rates for breaking the hard pan (hard layer) of the soil at the depth of 2 to 30 feet after every three years to make the land ready for proper leaching.

c) Other agricultural machinery like tractors, threshers, tranplanters, harvester, cane shaver, cane planter etc. may be provided to the growers on subsidized rates.

6- Proper awareness regarding adaptation of latest production technologies may be given to the growers through T.V & Radio talkshows, booklets, pamphlets, seminars, field days, demonstration, audio visuals etc.

7- Majority of the growers are found applying chemical fertilizers without soil analysis, resulting heavy loss of the expenditure as well as soil texture. It will result in decrease in the per acre yield.. Hence, it is suggested to make all non-functional Soil & Water Testing Labs properly functional and the concerned research institutions should be made responsible to keep their laboratories efficient. Growers are advised to use the inputs according to recommendations of the agriculture scientists to save their expenditure and have maximization of their income.

8- High rates of all inputs may be reduced for the reach of the small growers.

9- During last 4-5 years the growers, specially rice growers are crying for the low rate of their produce. Therefore, it is suggested to increase the rates.

10- Farmers are using the agricultural machinery for preparation of their land on higher rates, resulting high cost of production. Hence, it is suggested to reduce the rates of petroleum commodities for agricultural purpose.

PAGE: WHAT ARE THE REASONS FOR LOW PRICE OF RICE

AHMED NAWAZ NAICH: As I have already stated that there is huge number of un-registered seed companies selling the seed of unapproved varieties. The produce is being sold to the millers who mix all the different superior and inferior varieties. When the rice is exported to international market for sale, our rice cannot compete with the pure and superior quality of rice of other countries resulting in lower rates. It finally affects the growers. Hence, I once again suggest that we must sow our own superior local high yielding verities like, IRRI-6 for getting better rates. Growers must avoid sowing of all unapproved varieties in future.

PAGE: WHAT IS YOUR VIEW ABOUT FOOD SECURITY BECAUSE OF DROUGHT?

AHMED NAWAZ NAICH: Actually, it is a big challenge for the agriculture scientists. The drought conditions are not only severely affecting the agriculture but also Forest, Fisheries, Livestock, Energy, Industries, human health etc. On one side, the population is increasing and on other side cultivable land is ?reducing due to shortage of irrigation water, establishment of colonies, establishment of Industries, network of roads, seepage and salinity etc. It will result in severe food security. There is no way to take this big challenge in hand on top priority basis. Following measures may immediately be taken for help:

1- Evolve/introduce the drought resistant / tolerant high yielding varieties to meet the food requirements of increasing population.

2- Save irrigation water through different means.

3- Use irrigation water judiciously.

4- Adopt alternate and drying irrigation system (ADW). Avoid flooding the crops specially in rice.

5- Popularize aerobic rice cultivation.

6- Dry crops may be sown.

7- Ridge sowing may be used.

8- Save forest etc.

PAGE: YOUR VIEWS ON FOREIGN AND LOCAL INVESTMENT IN AGRICULTURE SECTOR:

AHMED NAWAZ NAICH: There is a big scope for investment in agriculture specially in the seed producing agriculture machinery, equipment etc. It is suggested to establish the industries accordingly which could not only be beneficial for agriculture but reduce the unemployment also. We should establish the industries for using bio-products of agriculture crops like paddy, wheat, maize, sugarcane etc.

We need to establish the industries for making tomato ketchups, guava pickles jam and jellies, mango pickles jam and jellies, dates and other fruits also. It will definitely raise the status of the economy of our country.