A 15-day training workshop on hydroponic agriculture (soilless farming) started at the Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University on February 6, 2016.
As many as 25 farmers from different parts of the province, including Multan, Faisalabad, Chakwal, Pak Patten, Attock and Rawalpindi, will get training on plant seeds without soil.
Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Rai Niaz Ahmad was chief guest at the inaugural session while deans, directors, faculty members and farmers were present.
The basic aim of the training programme is to float the idea of hydroponic agriculture among the farmers so that they would make experiments in their native areas and train others.
Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Dr. Rai Niaz Ahmad said hydroponic agriculture was an alternative mode of farming with great potential for high yields in different regions of the country.
He said crop growing in soil was difficult because it involved a large space, lots of labour and a large volume of water. In some places such as metropolitan areas, soil was not available for crop growing.
“Hydroponics, also known as soilless agriculture, is a system of growing plants which can also reduce problems that we experience in growing crops in the soil. It is a technology for growing plants in nutrient solutions with the use of any medium such as rock wool, coconut fiber etc., to provide mechanical support.”
He said Pakistan had a great potential in the agriculture sector and bringing it along modern lines would ensure food security. He said there was a lot of potential for hydroponic farming in the country.
“Every year, we import vegetables from India. If the government takes an interest in promoting these new technologies, we would not need to import such products from other countries. In fact, the country could earn a lot of foreign exchange through exports,” he said.
He said the hydroponic/soilless system would be a milestone in increasing the capability of agro-products.
The VC urged the faculty members to improve research capabilities and expressed his commitment to transferring this technology to farmers so they may benefit from it.
He said farmers should be trained to use new technologies to increase production rather than relying on traditional instruments.
The certificate distribution ceremony will be held at Governor House, Lahore, on February 16.
The university will conduct eight training sessions within two years (25 participants in each session) to train farmers on the hydroponic farming.