Village agricultural centre
By By M. Shafi Niaz
production can be increased by 80-100 per cent if
improved seeds, fertilisers, farm machinery,
insecticides and herbicides are available to farmers at
reasonable price together with interest-free loans in
time.The price of diesel and electricity rates may also
be cut for agricultural use.
Farmers also lack storage facilities so they have to
sell their produce at low rates which is an economic
loss to them. To improve farmers’ economic conditions,
it is important to buy their produce at reasonable rates
and provide other inputs at his door step.
While the government has taken some steps to improve the
lot of poor farmers such as announcing incentives for
purchasing tractors and other farm machinery, and
increasing support and procurement prices of rice and
wheat, it has failed to find a viable solution to supply
cheap inputs in time to the farmers---a basic
requirement for attaining food autarky.
During the past 61 years, many pro grammes were
initiated which increased production to some extent;
nevertheless, the basic goals could not be achieved.
All the set targets can be achieved if farmers get
inputs well in time in required quantity at affordable
prices to enhance their output. Here comes the idea of
“village agricultural centre” (VAC). The VAC is the
establishment of agricultural windows like utility
stores in large villages (with a population of 1,000).
All types of agricultural inputs must be available at
The seting up of such centres at union council level
cannot give the desired results. Just like one window
operation, which is in practice, the establishment of
VAC is vital for achieving self-sufficiency in food.
Here the question arises from where the funds will come
from in this resource constrained country? In fact, the
funds should not hinder the programme aimed at attaining
self-sufficiency---- which can save billions of dollars
spent on import of food items.
Fortunately, the government has announced that
revenue collected from agriculture will be spent on
its development. Village agriculture centre is the
best option to spend the earnings from this revenue.
It is suggested that this programme should be
initiated during the fiscal 20092010 and included in
the next five-year plan.
Under the plan, the VAC coverage should be extended
to 20 per cent villages every year. After five years
all villages in the country will have a VAC.
Important components of VAC are as under:
The VAC should be established in every village with
a population over 1,000. The centre can operate
under the supervision of the provincial agriculture
An agriculture graduate, appointed as in-charge of
VAC, will be responsible to control its activities
and solve farmers’ problems.
Every centre should have (a) all the farm inputs
like certified seed, fertiliser, pesticides and farm
machinery etc.(b) workshop to repair farm machinery
(c) training facility for driving tractor(d)
veterinary hospital, which will also arrange
workshops and give suggestions for increased
production of meat and milk. (e) nursery of flower,
fruit and tree saplings. (f) facility of honeybee
and silkworms rearing and, the latest information
about poultry, dairy, fish and livestock farming.
(e) branch of Zari Traqiati Bank to disburse
interest-free loans in the form of fertiliser, seed,
pesticides, machinery. The recovery should be made
by acquiring farm produce.
Besides, the VAC should have audio and video
documentaries of improved farm operations and
advanced production technologies.
Pasco should be responsible to buy farm produce at
the VAC. Likewise, it should have sugar mill
weighing centre, with at the spot cash payment
arrangements; ginning factories should be granted
permission to buy cotton at the VAC. Storage
facilities should be provided; branch of insurance
company should also be set up for crop insurance.
Cold storage and packing facilities should be
available in areas where vegetables and fruits are
Training courses for safe use of insecticides and
herbicides should be arranged, to make farmers aware
about possible hazards of mishandling these inputs.
Cooperative farming might be as possible solution
for fragmented small land holdings. Every centre
should have a co-operative society and member-
farmers should be granted special benefits. It
should have an exhibition plot with an area of 1-2
To summarise, the VAC can cater to the needs of
individual farmer, provide jobs to agricultural
graduates and act as a base for sustainable
Courtesy: The DAWN