CABI in Pakistan, in coordination with the Government of Punjab’s Agriculture Department, have given maize farmers a taste of improved productivity thanks to the mechanized technology provided by the ‘cob picker’.

Farmers and growers in the region have been getting to grips with the benefits of cob pickers – including harvesting at proper moisture content – as a result of a special program conducted under the Asian Development Bank’s project ‘Enhancing technology-based agriculture and marketing in rural Punjab.’

Implemented by CABI, the literacy training – held near a demonstration field – highlighted to farmers how the cob picker could chop and incorporate the maize stalk into the soil to improve fertility and the next crop yield.

The farmers were also given the opportunity to ask questions about the machinery including the costs per acre of renting it as well as issues around the aforementioned stubble management.

Dr Shakeel Ahmad, Project Coordinator, said: “Agricultural mechanization plays a strategic role in improving farm production and productivity. One of the reasons of low farm productivity in Pakistan is the non-availability of farm machinery – especially for small farmers. This delays farm operations particularly at sowing and harvesting of the crops.”

Farmers learn the benefits of the cob picker during a training and literacy session held by CABI.

During the demonstration of the cob picker, the farmers were very keen to learn about the new technology and overall were very positive about its performance. The other observations of the field team were:

1. The suitable time for cob picking is from 11:00 am up to 5 pm (proper moisture content) because of dew factor. 

2. The import of the machine started back in 2018. As machines are new to Pakistan, the operators need capacity building to operate these machines efficiently.

3. The peeling efficiency of the machine is 50%. Few farmers reasoned that variety (Pioneer-4040) of maize accounts for the rate of peeling efficiency. This will be confirmed once we harvest in the pilot sites any other variety in the coming days.

Dr Babar Bajwa, Senior Regional Director, CABI-Asia, said, “Pakistan is facing the serious issue of yield gap due to less adoption of innovative technologies and conventional farming ways. Currently, there is a huge gap between our production potential and average yield, therefore, in order to fill the yield gaps, and to foster agricultural productivity, latest technology should be integrated into the agricultural sector.

Mr. Riaz Anjum, Assistant Director Agriculture Extension, Okara viewed that adoption of farm mechanization technologies are vital to achieve better farm output. The Cob picker will assist farmers in complete their maize harvesting activities well in time with high efficiency thus reducing post harvesting losses with better crop yield.

Mr. Sagheer Ahmed, Progressive/Demo farmers also revealed that there is need for the cob picker as farmers are facing a severe issue of labour availability at the time of harvesting.

Therefore, keeping in view the need and interest of the farmers regarding the latest agricultural technologies, more demonstrations will be conducted in maize and other crops in Punjab province.

Additional information

Main image: Famers learn the benefits of the mechanized cob picker which improves efficiency by 50%.

CABI operates in Pakistan as bonafide research institute in association with Pakistan Agricultural Research Council.

CABI is an intergovernmental organization with UN Treaty.

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