By Nisar Ali Shah
and Dr Umar Frooq
Agriculture sector is one of the major sources of income and
employment for the people of barani areas. Successful
transfer of improved technology to target beneficiaries
requires strong and viable linkages of development.
federal government has started the Barani Development
Project (BVDP) under the umbrella of Agency for Barani Areas
Development (ABAD). The BVDP's approach is of participatory
type, which is more acceptable at the community level.
Increasing the efficiency of agriculture and rural sectors
of barani areas is of prime concern to the BVDP. Rapid
progress is crucial to improve the quality of life of the
people who earn their living from agriculture.
To achieve self-sufficiency in food, feed and for
sustainable agricultural development, technology is still
very low in the barani areas. Generally, big farmers are the
first beneficiaries of new technology, whereas, medium and
small farm households are usually unable to benefit from the
new technology. A majority of poor farmers avoid taking
risks in adopting new technology until and unless they are
sure about its benefits.
A number of methods and approaches have been adopted for
achieving agricultural and rural development for boosting
the income of small and medium farm households. The major
cause of low impact of new technology has been the poor
linkages with the line departments/agencies and research
Therefore, a need was felt that a strong linkage must be
created between research and development agencies for the
improvement of agricultural productivity and conservation of
natural resources through rapid dissemination of promising
Different proven technologies, after continuous evaluation
for the last four years, are now in the stage to be
disseminated in barani areas. This needs a close
collaboration and integration of the technology producers
and dissemination agencies.
Transfer of technology initiative has been launched
throughout the project area. This programme is specifically
planned to explore the diffusion process and possible
constraints and challenges in the transfer and adoption of
technologies for the target population.
Farmers' perception and behaviour in the adoption of
improved crop seed, low cost soil and water conservation
structures, gypsum for moisture conservation and genetic
improvement of small ruminants through sire would help in
further improvement of technology transfer mechanism.
Viable technologies including improved seed of different
food and feed crops are recommended after testing at the
integrated research sites in a participatory manner.
The informal seed production of fodder crops is being
promoted with the help of Agriculture Extension Department
through a participatory technology transfer and diffusion
process Scientists at the Social Sciences Institute (SSI),
the National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC), Islamabad
conducted surveys under which the fodder-growing farmers
were interviewed during the Kharif 2003 at three different
locations, viz Jand, Gujar Khan and Pind Dadan Khan of
Potohar barani tract.
Agricultural inputs, sorghum millet, including seed of maize
were provided to the farmers at these locations in time and
were advised about the use of inputs. The basic thrust of
this campaign involved the dissemination of improved seeds.
Increases in productivity can be attained with substantial
improvements in seed selection and more effective management
practices. The host farmers produced their own seed for
maize, sorghum and millet.
The farmers were selected through community organizations in
the village. The basic objectives of these associations were
to improve the knowledge, skills, increase farm productivity
and income of the farmers.
The farmers could sustain significant increases in real
income by putting less emphasis upon local seed and devoting
greater attention to improved seeds production. Many of
these opportunities are within the reach of the farmers. The
host farmers of the informal seed production also play an
important role in the adoption and diffusion of new
varieties at community level.
A numbers of farmers purchased seed from these farmers.
About ten fellow farmers purchased seed for nest season from
each of the host farmer. This will have a multiplying effect
in rapid adoption of these promising varieties.
The sample farmers got higher grain and dry stalk yield
along with good quality fodder from improved varieties of
maize, millet and sorghum. The grain yield of maize, millet
and sorghum was 33,40 and 21 per cent higher while of dry
stalk was 29, 29 and 50 per cent higher than the local
varieties respectively. The fertilizer response of these new
varieties was also better than the local varieties. These
improved varieties have high net benefit.
Required training and necessary technical backup was
provided by the research component to the Extension staff
and farming community. This finding would help the extension
and other development agencies along with researchers to
understand the compatibility of their promotional methods.
This, in turn, will also help in modifying the existing
components or introduction of new components in technology
transfer and adoption. The research and extension systems
particularly, and farmers in general would be the potential
beneficiaries of these research and development activities.
Seed production needs special efforts to maintain the
quality and purity while farmers, generally give little
attention for their home produced seed. For achieving
self-sustainability, following measures are needed:
(a) Special training for farmers to improve technology for
increasing productivity and reducing per unit cost of
(b) Local variety should be replaced with high yielding seed
dissemination at micro level.
(c) Demonstration trials for informal seed production should
be conducted with a participatory approach on regular basis.
(d) Community involvement at the time of sowing, maturity
and harvesting through field days would also be helpful in
technology dissemination process.
Courtesy: The DAWN