SWABI: Intermittent rains over the past few weeks have proved very productive for the water intensive sugar cane crop, farmers belonging to the cane growing regions told Dawn here on Saturday.
A visit to the sugar cane growing areas in Yar Hussain, Jaganat and Topi tehsil revealed that this was the critical period for the crop when it badly needed more water than that could hardly be available through the existing irrigation system.
It was the heavy rainfall in the last three weeks which helped the growers to remain relaxed about irrigation of their crop. They said that with the continued rains the cane growing rate had increased manifold.
The farmers said that sugar cane was one of the water intensive crops and it could easily absorb more water compared to the other crops. They said that the present irrigation system be strengthened to ensure sufficient supply of water to different crops.
Swabi farmers call for strengthening irrigation system
Afzal Khan of Tail Banda said that climate of the region was hot and sunny in which the crops like sugar cane needed water after every three days. “The problem of water shortages usually haunts us, especially during this time of the season,” said Mohammad Ibrahim of Jaganat village.
The growers said that the increasing production of sugar cane was linked with sustained water supply. They said that sugar cane was mostly cultivated in terrains where canal water was available in summer.
The existing irrigation is not a perfect mechanism to provide sufficient water to the sugar cane crop because each farmer has to wait for his turn for a whole week to divert water to his crop.
The peasants said that electricity loadshedding was a big problem for the farmers who had installed water pumps on wells in their fields. In such a situation, many farmers are forced to turn to diesel-run pumps.
Mohammad Aslam of Topi said that due to unavailability of adequate water supply they could not increase the cane growing area. Khalid Khan, district president of Kisan Board, said that keeping in view the burgeoning population the requirement of sugar had been increasing, but there was no programme to increase the yield.
Alam Sher Gohati, district president of Anjuman-i-Kashthkaran, said that the water channels should be kept clean to ensure smooth flow of water to the fields.
Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2015