Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari today directed to form a committee comprising of secretaries of agriculture departments of Punjab and Sindh to recommend measures for meeting the seed requirements of the farmers in the flood affected areas and another committee comprising of secretary agriculture KPK and representatives of APTMA to recommend measures for reserving the command area of Gomal Dam in the province for the cultivation of cotton.
This he said during a briefing on agriculture here at Aiwan-e-Sadr today. Briefing media Spokesperson to President Farhatullah Babar said that the President also called for providing assistance to the farmers of the flood affected areas including provision of seeds for growing Canola, Sunflower and Cotton besides soft-loans and Cash-for-Work schemes so that the farmers take a fresh start and compensate for their losses.
The President said that huge destruction of food and cash crops and destruction of livestock in the flood affected areas of Sindh had seriously impacted on the agricultural economy. He said that one of the top priorities was to help the farmers reclaim their agricultural lands and to prevent further loss of livestock.
We need to have full involvement and assistance of the women also so that they could also contribute their share in this effort to rehabilitation, he said.
The meeting was informed that crop-wise damage incurred by the recent floods was estimated at 2 million bales for the cotton crop, over seventy-five thousand tones to chillies, 0.2 million tonnes to rice, 0.33 million tonnes to onion and 70 thousand tones to tomatoes.
The President said that keeping in view the upcoming Rabi winter planting seasons, rapid measures needs be taken to assist the farmers by timely provision of seeds and fertilizers. He said that Cash-for-Work (CFW) schemes would help to create much needed income opportunities for the affected communities.
Fertilizer availability situation in the country was also reviewed during the meeting. The President said that cost benefit analysis be carried out so as to decide between the option of importing more fertilizers from abroad or provision of more gas to the local fertilizers production entities.
Dr. Iftikhar Ahmed, Chairman PARC, while briefing the meeting about the activities of PARC in wake of present situation informed that Council has prepared a work plan for the rain affected areas of Sindh outlining various options once the flood water recedes. The PARC also recommended promotion of kitchen gardening across the country.
The President while reviewing the cotton production situation in the country said that better management of existing technology and introduction of new technologies was essential as to maximize national cotton production on one hand and to control various viral diseases on the other.
Those who attended the meeting included among others Ch. Anwar Ali Cheema, Federal Minister for Production, Makhdoom Shahab-ud-Din, Federal Minister for Textile Industries, Dr. Nadeem-ul-Haq, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Jam Saifullah Dharejo, Irrigation Minister Sindh, Mr. Nazar Muhammad Gondal, MNA, Dr. Iftikhar Ahmed, Chairman PARC, Lt. Gen ® Arif Hayat, MD Fauji Fertilizers, Dr. A.Q. Mughal, VC Tando Jam Agri University, Mr. Tariq Shafiq, MD NFC, Mr. Altaf Azmat Khan, MD Seed Corp Punjab and Mr. Tasneem Jan, DG Seed Corp KPK besides federal and provincial secretaries of the concerned departments.
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