ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal has directed all the relevant quarters, especially the Ministry of National Food Security and Provincial Agriculture departments to identify suitable seeds in advance for the Rabi crops with a special focus on flood-hit areas where an estimated three million seed bags will be required for the season.
The minister directed this while chairing a high-level meeting of the National Flood Response and Coordination Centre (NFRCC), here on Wednesday.
The Rabi crop, especially the cultivation of wheat and the measures regarding the supply of subsidy-based seeds were reviewed in the meeting.
The minister asked the National Food Security Ministry officials the requirement of the respective flood-hit areas and the types of seeds should be managed and determined in advance so that all the crops can be timely cultivated.
Commissioner Food Security Ministry of National Food Security and Research, while briefing the participants, informed that the flood-affected areas across the country needed 2.99 million seed bags to fulfil the requirements of the upcoming Rabi season. The meeting was informed that around four million acres of cultivatable area had been affected by floods across the country.
The forum was also apprised of the progress made so far on the NFRCC web portal and dashboard. Furthermore, he said relief activities in the flood-affected areas should be expedited due to the arrival of winter besides immediately finalising a mechanism for procurement of subsidy-based seeds and distribution at the district level. He said the provincial governments should confirm the availing of subsidy-based seeds as soon as possible.
There should be no delay in delivering seeds to farmers for the Rabi crop, he said, adding the delay would increase the issue of food security in the country.
Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Lieutenant General Akhtar Nawaz, provincial secretaries of agriculture, and other concerned officials also participated in the meeting.
The government is also devising a plan to distribute one bag of DAP along with free of cost seeds among the farmers of the flood-affected areas which will cost around Rs80 billion. Moreover, the farmers have also requested the government to fix the DAP prices at Rs6,000 per bag, urea fertiliser at Rs3,000, diesel at Rs150, and electricity being used in the agriculture sector at Rs8 per unit, saying this will greatly help revive the agriculture sector and make Pakistan self-sufficient in essential food production.
According to the latest data issued by the NDMA, the flood waters triggered by monsoon rains since June to date have claimed the lives of 1,717 people which include 733 men, 639 children, and 345 women. The floods have left a total of 12,867 people injured, of which, 5,409 men, 4,006 children, and 3,452 women.
The majority of deaths are reported in Sindh, wherein, a total of 779 people have lost their lives, followed by Balochistan 336, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) 308, Punjab 222, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) 48, Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) 23, and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) one. Sindh has reported 8,422 flood-related injuries, followed by Punjab 3,858, KPK 370, Balochistan 187, AJK 24, and GB six.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022