No small farmer
By Waqar Gillani
fond grower of roses and gladioluses, Syed Ali Saeed Shah
has also pioneered the use of the state-of-the-art Drip
Irrigation System at his beloved farm at the mouth of
West of the old Saggian bridge, along the rich agri-land.
An unpaved road leads you
through bushes of red roses up to a decidedly ‘modern’ farm
built over a six-acre sprawl.
The fragrance of roses and
the dancing gladiolus stems are ready to greet you, amid
droves of chicken and rabbits moving freely about.
Situated hardly two
kilometres off the main Sharaqpur Road, this farm is the pet
project of the 34 years old Syed Ali Saeed Shah and is home
to shrubs, gladioluses and vegetables already.
Sharaqpur is an old town on Jaranwala Rd, famous for its
production of roses as well as fruits especially guava,
lychee, watermelon, strawberry and falsa. Besides, crops of
maize, wheat, rice and sugarcane are also grown here. For
Shah, it’s a labour of love.
And, it shows in the way he has employed the
state-of-the-art technology in farming, such as the Drip
Irrigation System (or DIS) that allows water to drip slowly
to the roots of the plants through a network of pipes, tubes
This saves water, electricity, time and use of fertilisers.
(The fertilisers are mixed in water supplied through the
In an exclusive chat with TNS, Shah says he began in the
field “right after I passed my matriculation. I would tag
along with my father.”
Back then, the Syed family owned a 30-acre piece of land
where they grew guava and lychee. Later, the elders in the
family had to sell off a major chunk of the land because of
the increasing population in the area.
They were left with mere six acres.
Shah dropped out of school to pursue his huge interest in
agriculture and farming. There’s been no looking back since.
Shah admits that the DIS is a costly technology but the
“Punjab government subsidy scheme helped a lot.
The total cost of the system is Rs1.4 million (approx.) and
the government provided us almost fifty per cent of the
Reportedly, the provincial government purports to spend
Rs14.97 billion in the current fiscal year, on agriculture
This includes enhancing vegetable production.
Promotion of pulses, and the propagation of the Drip
Irrigation System, laser land-levelling, new machinery, and
the construction of concrete water sources.
The switching over from flood irrigation to drip irrigation
is also going to help ensure an increased agri-production
and stop water pilferage and the fields from becoming
For the past eight years, Shah has been using the latest
techniques of agriculture to boost his yield. He is also
always open to new modes of marketing.
“Since we are very close to the city, it’s easier for us to
get good customers and gain access to the market for the
sale of the agricultural products,” he says.
“I believe the city suburbs must remain largely
agricultural. Small farms and green fields ought to be used
for agri-products. This would help the urban-based people to
acquire the organic produce from nearby and spare them extra
effort and fuel.”
He urges the government to introduce laws that bind land
owners not to convert the agri-land into housing societies
He recalls how his family was forced to sell their land
because they had no choice — the surrounding areas had
become residential colonies and the environment was not
conducive for farming.
“The government should introduce farmer-friendly policies
and laws to promote agriculture and country life,” he
insists. “In India, farmers are encouraged through
relaxations in electricity bills, taxes and fertilisers.
Not so in Pakistan. Eventually, it becomes hard for them to
afford electricity, fertilisers and seeds, which incurs them
losses, pushing them to think about other business options
or selling their land for commercial purposes.”