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Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) has approved the national programme worth Rs 2048.90 million for enhancing the productivity of sugarcane in the Punjab province. The programme named as 'National Programme for enhancing profitability through increasing productivity of sugarcane' will be launched in 13 main sugarcane growing districts of the Punjab province.

These districts include Sargodha, Bhakkar, Faisalabad, Toba Tek Singh, Jhang, Chiniot, Mandi Bahauddin, Kasur, Muzaffargarh, Layyah, Rajanpur, Bahawalpur and Rahim Yar Khan.

It is a financially shared project in which Punjab will contribute Rs 1737.70 million while Federation's share is Rs 311.23 million, sources in the Punjab Agriculture Department told Business Recorder here on Monday. Objectives of the project are to enhance the profitability of sugarcane farming through increasing productivity of sugarcane to 200 maunds/acre and to allocate area retrieved (in the longer run) for oilseeds and high-value crops etc, sources added.

They further said that productivity enhancement will be achieved through promotion of mechanization under which the provincial agriculture department aims to distribute 2291 chisel ploughs, 1142 early hill-up implements, 1142 planters with band fertilizer, 7 billet planters, 1142 granular fertilizer applicators and demonstration of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP).

These include weed/pest management and nutritional management in line with latest practices at 2961 places in these 13 districts.

The department will also arrange 270 mega farmer gatherings in the main sugarcane hubs of the province besides holding of 986 farmer days to impart training and information to the sugarcane growers about the project and the machines.

Under this project around 210 Best Growers will also be recognized and appreciated through different means at District to provincial level while the government will share 50 percent cost on application of micronutrients on 297,010 acres, the sources added.

Sources said that the government also plans to extend subsidy for intercropping and September planting at 13,000 acres and strengthening of Bio-Labs by development of IPM techniques.

Regarding when the project is going to be launched, the sources said that now the project will come in discussion at the provincial development working party (PDWP) and then implemented after fine tuning according to the need of the province, the sources concluded.

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