The Food and Agriculture Organization has introduced high tunnel-farming with drip-irrigation systems in newly merged tribal districts to promote off-season crop production through agro-technology in the wide-range climate of the region.
One hundred high tunnels have been installed in districts of Khyber, Orakzai, North and South Waziristan, twenty each. These tunnels will be supplemented with a drip irrigation system, a method of controlled irrigation with which water is slowly delivered to plants, resulting in efficient use of water and fertilizer.
As part of promoting off-season vegetable production, FAO arranges extensive off and on-job training and exposure visits for the farmers who are less or no familiar with tunnel farming methods for commercial agriculture.
"It is crucial to provide technical training to the farmers in these areas as there is very little technical assistance and extension work available on tunnel-farming for growing vegetable crops in targeted areas," says Rustam Khan, an expert agriculturist from FAO.
The farmers are also provided with the certified quality seeds and trained on low-tech procedures of growing high-quality food to reap more profits.
FAO continues familiarizing farmers with agro-technology in tribal areas to boost the production aiming food security and agro-based livelihood opportunities. Walk-in tunnels help increase productivity reducing the gap between current and potential production of agro-food targeting promotion of traditional economy and restoration of livelihood in insurgency-affected areas.
With the tunnel farming techniques, farmers in the Merged Districts of KP are evolving from subsistence to commercial agriculture. The growing practice is promoting farmers learning in agriculture development, climate security, creating socioeconomic resilience and improving market services on a sustainable basis.
UN Food and Agriculture Organisation