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Govt to give subsidised seeds, fertilisers to flood-hit farmers

Govt to give subsidised seeds, fertilisers  to flood-hit farmers

ISLAMABAD: The federal government will provide subsidised seeds and fertilisers to farmers in flood-affected areas during the upcoming Rabi sowing season, Minister for National Food Security and Research Tariq Bashir Cheema announced on Thursday.

“We plan to provide subsidised wheat and edible oil seeds, and one fertiliser bag per acre to farmers in the calamity-hit areas,” said Mr Cheema during a meeting with the World Bank representatives.

The disbursement will be made through provincial governments and the National Disaster Management Authority, he said, adding that the assistance would allow farmers “to stand back on their feet”.

The minister has also directed the Department of Plant Protection to prepare a comprehensive plan to deliver farming inputs to affected areas.

The programme will be implemented on a cost-sharing basis with the provinces, and the proposal will soon be presented to the federal cabinet for approval.

Fearing a locust attack after the floods, the minister also approved a request to recruit technical staff for surveillance of locust outbreaks and diseases, while directing to rigorously inspect breeding and swarming areas and take remedial action.

The recruitment of surveillance staff and procurement of vehicles will enhance the capacity of the department to immediately respond to any unwarranted situation, Department of Plant Protection Director General Allah Ditta Abid said.

World Bank’s assistance

Meanwhile, the World Bank has announced financial support of $22.2 million for rehabilitating flood-affected farmers.

John A. Roome, the bank’s South Asia regional director for sustainable development, said the World Bank would help Pakistan in this time of need through projects targeted to rehabilitate the affected community.

He has agreed to support farmers’ rehabilitation in affected districts and control locus outbreaks through the Locust Emergency and Food Security project.

Mr Roome said he would request the bank’s executive board to increase support for Pakistan to recover from the devastation caused by the floods.

While appreciating the cooperation, Mr Cheema said the World Bank’s assistance in recovery and rehabilitation is “needed more than ever”.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2022

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