Working towards a better future: Engro and GIZ train 11,000+ rice farmers

SPIRiT (System Productivity Innovative Rice Training) project is working towards transforming 11,500 smallholder and resource-poor farmers by enabling them to depart from their age old traditional, inefficient and less productive farming practices. SPIRiT encourages small farmers to adopt innovative crop stand establishment concepts, resource conservation techniques (alternate wetting and drying, direct seeding of rice, zero tillage of wheat), quality harvesting and other best crop management practices.

SPIRiT project is being jointly implemented by Engro Foundation – the CSR arm of Engro – and Engro Eximp Agriproducts – the Company’s rice processing business. The project is supported by the TVET Reform Support Programme, which is co-funded by the European Union, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the Federal Republic of Germany and being implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaftfür Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

SPIRiT Project trainings, demonstrations and follow-up mobilizations are based on the vision of transforming 11,500 smallholder and resource-poor farmers by enabling them to depart from less productive farming practices adopt best crop management practices while training their fellow farmers. Registered direct beneficiary farmers hailed from more than 250 Villages of Sheikhupura, Gujranwala, Silakot and Mandi Bhauddin Districts of Punjab, Pakistan.

Baba Bashir is just one example from the many SPIRiT beneficiaries who have utilized this opportunity to become confident advocates of productive best crop management practices. Baba Bashir is a strong advocate of the innovative SPIRiT Project concepts and, as an early adopter of the innovative techniques, has been a role model for others.

Baba Bashir is a small farmer of Seikhum village in Sheikhupura district,and the only bread earner in his family. A 15 month training course in productivity enhancement and resource conservation has brought about a huge change in his life and that of his family. Now Baba Bashir can meet his household expenses and have some revenue left over from the profits he is making due to linkages with the group of farmers engaged in collective farming and selling of higher quality harvest at a premium.

The training Baba Bashir has received has increased his self-confidence and he has taken on the bigger task of educating his fellow farmers in the village, as well as surrounding villages, by spreading awareness and knowledge of the new techniques. Although he is over 75 years of age, Baba Bashir takes an active part in all the training and farming activities, seminars, sessions and has shared his success story many times to encourage others to benefit from the SPIRiT Project trainings.

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Baba Bashir with the Federal Minster Agriculture, Pakistan during his farm visit at Saranwala Village
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Baba Bashir explaining the SPIRiT Project Success Story in a National Seminar on Quality Paddy on 6th December, 2014.
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