Layyah is a small district in southern Punjab, Pakistan. Sand dunes and wild shrubbery make up most of the landscape, one of which, gives the district its name – Layyan, a wild, short stature shrub of fuel-wood.). It is an agricultural area with no significant industry and most people earn their living through agriculture. Like the rest of the Punjab, Layyah also depends on ground water and canal irrigation channels for cultivation.
The conventional irrigation method of flooding however renders significant water losses of 20-25%. Uneven fields and poor farm designing further add to agricultural losses. Pakistan’s Water Accord of 1991 assigns Punjab’s share as 6.9 million hectare meters, though less than half of that, only 3.2 million hectare meters, actually reaches the farm gate due to losses in canals and watercourses. The Punjab Irrigated-Agriculture Productivity Improvement Project (PIPIP), launched by the provincial government and supported by the World Bank is helping Punjab to enhance water productivity by producing more crops per drop.
PIPIP provides farmers with high efficiency irrigation systems (HEIS), including drip irrigation, sprinkler systems, and improving watercourses; helps build community irrigation systems; and improves agricultural technology, such as laser land leveling.
Abdul Baqi, manages his family’s 4.5 acre orchard in Chak 125, Layyah, and has been in the citrus farming business for the last five years. “Drip irrigation is a revolution in the agricultural sector. The efficient application and use of water for every plant is very important. It not only increases the yield but also affects the quality of it,” he says.
“Four hours of water supply was not enough to irrigate even 2 acres of land through the conventional flooding method. However, now 4 to 5 acres of land can be irrigated in less than one hour.” Baqi explained the productivity of the system adding, “Drip irrigation allows better fruiting on every plant. Plant health doesn’t get compromised, while the survival rate of saplings is 97% which was 60% on flooding. It is the best solution to cope with Pakistan’s water crisis and food insecurity.”