GFAR blog

YAP proposal #58: Off-season Vegetable farming (Muhammad Usman, Pakistan)

view of tunnel farming
I am Muhammad Usman, 23 years old, from Pakistan. I am small agricultural farmer graduated from Arid Agriculture University Pakistan.

My project is about the production of off-season vegetables using tunnel farming. It’s an emerging business in Pakistan – off-season vegetable growing is done in the district of Faisalabad and Toba Tek Singh.

From our study, the production of vegetables in the country is currently limited to certain time period during the year due to seasonal variations. However, due to the invention of modern agriculture and storage techniques there is an opportunity for growing a variety of vegetables in off-season as well. In this regard two options can be considered – the first is to store vegetables under an artificial environment. The second option would be to grow them off-season by tunnel farming.

Year round vegetable consumption is increasing in Pakistan due to changing food habits. In addition to local consumption in the country, there is an enormous export potential.

My motivation came from my friends who are growing off-season vegetables by tunnel farming. They have implemented this project at their farm and obtained high and stable yield. They have used walk in tunnel technology which need hard work for success. I have observed two tunnels closely and discovered that my friends invest less and obtain more yield during this project.

I am already working in a project entitled “Awareness of tunnel farming to nursery growers of Pakistan” and our objective is to facilitate potential investors in off- season vegetable production providing them with general understanding of tunnel farming business.

In my project different techniques and method of tunnel farming will be used. However, keeping in view the economical, technical and managerial factors, high tunnel off-season vegetable farming is suggested for the proposed project.

The business can be successfully carried in the district of Toba Tek Singh and Faisalabad. The proposed project will provide direct employment to two individuals.

It costs much less to build than a greenhouse, usually about $5,000. Fruit and Vegetables Development project (FDVP) of the Punjab Agriculture Department has installed 45 tunnels in six regions of the province. The regions selected for tunnel farming included Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan, Sargodha, Toba Tek Singh and Rahim Yar khan. The farmers of 45 villages of these regions will be educated about cultivation of four vegetables (cucumber, tomato, green chili and capsicum) during off-season.

In a one year period, we can increase awareness of off season vegetable production within a large farming community. My cost breakdown for the whole project is roughly as follows:

Phase one:
Construction of tunnel: $2500
Construction of tunnel includes Plastic sheets, pipes and black mulching sheet.

Phase two:
Machinery and Equipment: $1500
Operational and Maintenance cost: $500

Phase three:
Awareness cost: $500

Blogpost and picture submitted by Muhammad Usman (Pakistan) –usdanish[at]

The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.

This post is published as proposal #58 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.

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78 thoughts on “YAP proposal #58: Off-season Vegetable farming (Muhammad Usman, Pakistan)”

  1. Mr Muhammad Usman, Great job and wel done. Really it is appreciable. Now you use Walk in Tunnel concept and it is some how costly but we provide solution as Low Tunnel concept and it is very cheap as 400 USD and no operating cost and maintenance cost. AGRIWIN is very first company in India who promote this product and Exports in USA,GULF countries. please refer for more details. This system totally controlled insects and temperature in Winter and Summer. you may use for OFF SEASON CULTIVATIONS OF VEGETABLES.

    1. Suresh your comments are valuable.we will also use low tunnel technology which is easily available to every farmer.

    2. Hello, I am Gloria, who is planning on using some of her families land in Punjab to use the Hydrophonic Technique, for one to help feed the poor and as well make a living for myself. I plan on hydrop. lettuce and any other much needed vegetables in the off season in Pakistan. Hydrophonic technique is going to be a big help in the off season here and supply can be just as easy as tell me what are your needs and I can grow! Tunnel Farming is comming to light. Fresher, larger and vegetables grown w/ no soil reducing bugs to a halt, use of fertlizer to a minimum

      1. Asalam-o-Alaikum Muhammad Usman …….
        you are starting Great Project i’m also think to start a out season vegetable project. i’m also from pakistan punjab. what you will suggest me in these month ….

  2. Hello Muhammad,

    I wish other young minds of Pakistan follow your steps and support the development of AG sector !
    You said 45 tunnels in six regions of the province will be installed. is not it big amount? How can you organize it at the same time? will be you helped by someone?

    Best Regards,
    Melano Dadalauri YEP#11

  3. Well-done usman, doing great job, vegeies should b economical, keep this in mind,.. Many prays 🙂

  4. Gudd job Mr usman. I appreciate your work and ur thinking too .you are true agriculturist,go ahead .God bless u in your every footstep of life .😊

  5. Dear usman I really impressed to your present project and keep it up. And tell me how much differences about care, cost and production quantities seasonal and off season vegetable production.

    1. in tunnel farming we can handle farming easily.input will be decrease as compare to seasonal crop if your tunnel is already installed.You will get more output

  6. Welldone Mr Usman. This is awesome. Have you thought of using aeroponics system, as this would also help increase productivity at a reduced cost and help ensure like the tunnel technology, planting can also be done anytime of the year but with reduced water use, no pesticides or fungicides, increased cycle etc check facebook group – sreach aeroponics

  7. Is tunnel farming the solution for problems of progressive farmers in Pakistan? Is the tunnel technology becoming popular in Pakistan? The answers to these questions is very sophisticated and the progress in the acceptance to the tunnel technology has been slow since its introduction in the country around ten years ago. The intensive, out-of-season farming carried out in tunnels is certainly promising both in terms of production and income return to the farmer.

  8. In the recent times of freedom of speech, care for rights and bulk of funding from private agencies, a number of non-government organizations have also stepped in for farmer awareness. The work done by NGOs, agricultural corporation and agri-based websites in Pakistan have also sprung up to a record level. This has helped the common farmer and especially the educated and progressive farmer community is taking most of the advantage from the services of these sources for awareness, feasibility reports, on-field training and other sorts of guidance.
    There are many agriculture website, Facebook & google+ pages and online newspapers who have done commendable efforts to promote tunnel farming in Pakistan and PakAgriFarming has also been up to the task, ensuring the right agri-knowledge has reached to the concerned agri-community.

  9. The future of tunnel farming is bright in Pakistan and the adoption rate of the farmers to this technology has been progressive in the recent years and more tunnels are being established. Tunnels can now be seen in almost 70% agricultural lands of Punjab, and fewer in Sindh, too. Most of the agricultural zones which have potential for vegetables and fruits cultivation is attracted to tunnel farming.
    Then there is the support programs by the government agriculture departments, NGOs and commercial bank have also offered attractive loan schemes for setting up tunnels. The progressive farmers who own greater pieces of land can benefits from these schemes as well as medium farmer who have less than 10 acres of land.
    So, keeping in view the recent improvements and promotion packages, the acreage of land with tunnels is expected to expand to almost 25-40% of all the cultivated land in Punjab, and around 10% of cultivated lands in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh. The high number of tunnels will also mean a change in the cropping patterns, technologies, implements and inputs. This will also affect the dominant agricultural commodities in the markets and the zones will haves to be defined.

  10. The support from government may also decrease with increased number of farmers associated with tunnels, however, the loan schemes from banks are going to be the turning point if tunnel farming growth is to be continued.
    We will be witnessing a change in the agricultural landscape since agricultural land is already shrinking at accelerated rates in the recent years due to poor land reforms from the government, lack of control over the housing societies and unfair taxation policy for the farmers. In the light of all these events, tunnel farming can be a relief for the farmer community in coming five to ten years.

  11. • To introduce intensive cultivation per unit area.
    • To get maximum output/unit area.
    • To get production as per market demand.
    • To minimize the environmental Hazards.
    • To increase the life span and production ability of the plants.
    • To promote vertical cultivation to enhance quality and quantity of the produce and to lessen the area availability issues.
    • To get 3-5 times more production as compared to that taken in an open field.
    • To fetch higher price of produce because of its early availability in the market.
    • To save the input resources like water, fertilizer and Time & space.
    • To manage the crops in controlled and comparatively easy conditions.
    • To grow the crops in shorter time periods/growing seasons

    1. • Always keep the direction of the tunnel from East to West for better temperature gains inside the tunnel.
      • Always use good quality seed.
      • For cucumber, use Parthinocarpic variety seed.
      • For tomato, use indeterminate variety seed.
      • Use fertile soil and maintain its fertility during throughout the season.
      • Always grow more profitable vegetables as per market survey.
      • Protect seed of cucumber from rodents and insects till its germination.
      • Irrigate in morning and evening or as per expert’s advice according to the growing/atmospheric conditions inside your tunnel farm.
      • All plants are tied up with rope.
      • Prune the plants particularly three nodes at initial stage.
      • Use minimum quantity of farm yard manure for cucumber as compared to sweet pepper and tomato crops.
      • Use drip irrigation for economic irrigation and fertilizer application.
      • To avoid germination of weed, use black mulch into the growing bed.
      • Apply proper pesticide at proper time to control the insects or fungi.
      • Smoking is strictly prohibited inside Tunnel as it may cause a quick spread viral diseases throughout the tunnel.

    1. In summer, it is advisable to keep the temperature lower than 35°C, but in practice this is not always possible. A plant’s performance is definitely influenced by too high temperatures, and too low temperatures as well. In winter, a tomato plant can still perform well when the temperature doesn’t drop below 5°C.

  12. When temperatures are too high, the fertilizer utilisation of a plant is not optimal. A guideline is to give more water in the hot part of the day. When it is very hot, a plant can use up to 3 – 4 litres of water a day. Make sure the EC in the bag is not to high!

  13. Wish you very well and successful future ahead dear.
    You are doing great job, because it is need of the time to grow off season vegetables for healthy society.

  14. Much impressed by Usman’s enthusiastic and positive approach. He has studied and gained practical knowledge on tunnel farming. Should my family decide to adopt this approach on our farms Usman you will be person we will contact.

  15. appreciate your great work.
    If I am not mistaken, you have given the figures per acre?

  16. Discprition:
    agriculture is the main hub of income in Pakistan as you can see no body is happy almost after farmer destroyed due to cotton there in no money available in market since other countries are going in organic farming hydroponics and all other related new technologies and we are wasting our land present in Cholistan and Thar and provide funds to get sustainability in agriculture
    and there is no agriculture departments in interacted with farmers you can see your recent seminar was in PC Lahore i think no farmer was told about that here in our region and even not mentioned in Pnjab agriculture website that what place is it going to be held you can see report also about that conference i also called the department to mention the place the said it will be done as they are also unaware of place
    in the end government is not education farmers who have land they should be given admission or training in training institutes free everyone even PARC is also demanding some cash to give training these institutes who are getting huge funds are of no use if farmers are not there to get training farmers have no place to see new technologies
    PAMCO has no recent activity since 2 years belongs to agriculture its only working on meet

    i want to suggest government
    1. provide education and training to farmer and no documents or previous study as their lands should be taken over if they don’t get certified training
    2. provide organic support through media channels news channels
    3 training time and place to be given in advance on Agri-Punjab and PARC the main hub of agriculture
    4 Registration of farmers
    5 farmers should have access to international markets
    6 farmers should have free travel access for all over the world through proper channel to get different technologies and new spices of fruits plants and flower vegetables
    7 improve agriculture departments remove people who are just for pay
    they should be replaced by new peoples qualified from international sources

    in the end support farmer and use all resources
    make people invest in Cholistan and turn desert into green like Israel and Qatar are doing
    like Sahara project

    we cannot make our Country compete others without making a happy farmer
    more you produce more you generate revenue
    we should get some projects which leads by
    A Pakistani student girl named Zainab she is the student of M.Phil who have made petrol with tissue paper and want land of cholistan and thar to produce bio deail so we should start something to show world that we don’t required help we provide help we are one of developed country smile emoticon

  17. Dear, Keep it up and work hard for uplifting the agriculture sector of Pakistan. Off season vegetables production through tunnel forming is a best method to produce vegetables and small fruits in tunnels all round the year. so good luck and your work is appreciable..

  18. Thank you Usman for your initiative for betterment…i am Engineer and working in Hybrid corn seed companies(Monsanto/Pioneer seeds) since 1996. I am also a small farmer belongs to district Hafizabad.
    After viewing your comments i am also encouraged and want to start tunnel farming therefore, i need your help to start my own business.

  19. what you will suggest me in month of august. what is the best vegetable will profitable in this month

  20. Respected Sir/Mam

    Thanks a lot for your kind informative desk for new/old farmers.

    I am a Govt. Employee and I want to grow/cultivate Off Season Crops/Vegetables but unfortunately, i have not enough knowledge more than 3 years experience in this field.
    Therefore, it is requested you for step by step guideline to grow Off Season crops in Multan (Punjab, Pakistan)

    Best Regards
    Imtiaz Hussain Shad

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