ISLAMABAD-Ministry of National Food and Security plans to subsidize seeds and fertiliser for flood affected farmers before Rabi season sowing.

“Federal government will provide subsidized inputs to flood affected farmers for the upcoming Rabi season on a cost-sharing basis with the provinces,” said Federal Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema in a meeting with a delegation led by John A Roome South Asia Regional Director for Sustainable Development World Bank.

Both discussed the rehabilitation and relief efforts in the floods and rains affected areas with special reference to farmer community and food security. Federal Minister Tariq Bashir said that flood and rains have played havoc on the agriculture sector and have devastated the farming community. “At this critical time, we are only focused on rehabilitation activities in the flood affected areas to bring back normalcy,” he added. According to the proposal, federal government will provide subsidized inputs to flood affected farmers for the upcoming Rabi season on a cost-sharing basis with the provinces. The proposed subsidy may be presented to the Federal Cabinet soon. 

“We plan to provide subsidized wheat and edible oil seeds, and one fertilizer bag per acre to farmers in the calamity hit areas,” he said. The disbursement will be through provincial governments and NDMA. He hoped farmers will be able to stand back on their feet after this support. During this national emergency, federal government is supporting agriculture departments of the provinces in every way possible, Cheema said.

John A Roome said that the World Bank will help Pakistan, in this time of need, through projects targeted to rehabilitate the affected community. He agreed to support rehabilitation of the farming community in flood affected districts and locus hit areas through the Locust Emergency and Food Security (LEAFS) project of the World Bank. He said that the World Bank is working with provincial agriculture departments to support the farming community. John A Roome said that he will request the World Bank Group Board to increase support for Pakistan to recover from the devastations caused by unprecedented floods.

In another meeting, Federal Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema directed Department of Plant Protection (DPP) to prepare a comprehensive plan to deliver the seeds and fertilizer to the flood affected regions by the end of this month. He also approved the request of the department to recruit technical staff for surveillance of locust outbreak and diseases. Federal Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema feared that the recent flood and rains have increased the chances of a locust attack. He directed to rigorously inspect breeding and swarming areas to 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,” said Director General Department of Plant Protection Allah Ditta Abid.