Flood-hit farmers to get free wheat seeds from Nov 10

Published October 26, 2022
DEVASTATING floods killed 1,700 people and submerged huge swathes of land in Pakistan during July and August, wrecking several crops like wheat, cotton and vegetables and affecting the livelihoods of millions of farmers.—Reuters/File
DEVASTATING floods killed 1,700 people and submerged huge swathes of land in Pakistan during July and August, wrecking several crops like wheat, cotton and vegetables and affecting the livelihoods of millions of farmers.—Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: For reviving agriculture in flood-hit areas, the distribution of free wheat seeds to the farmers will start from Nov 10, announced the Committee on Food, Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries on Tuesday.

Chairing the committee’s meeting Food Security Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema said an app had been launched to deliver and distribute free seeds among the flood-affected farmers. “The same app can also be used in the future to provide direct subsidies to farmers,” he added.

The crop sector is the second most important sub-sector after livestock, and the source of livelihood for the rural population in Sindh and Balochistan. Unlike major crops cultivated in Punjab or Sindh, farmers in Balochistan mainly engage in vegetables and orchard production.

Secretary of National Food Security Zafar Hassan briefed the committee on the situation of wheat stock and apprised that there are sufficient strategic wheat reserves. “Currently, public sector wheat reserves stand sufficient and are more than the last year,” he said.

“Because of the floods and rains, we are in a state of emergency,” Mr Cheema said, adding that the officials should take decisions in the best interest of the public.

Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation Managing Director Saeed Ahmad Nawaz informed the committee that the rains and floods had caused damages to the wheat stock at the government warehouse. Wheat fit for human consumption has been successfully separated from the damaged stock and is being supplied, he said.

The committee members also directed to prepare an umbrella project for the livestock in the flood-affected areas, to control diseases in animals and mitigate the shortage of fodder.

The meeting was attended by provincial ministers for agriculture, livestock and fisheries, and officials of the relevant departments from all provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.

Published in Dawn, October 26th, 2022

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