Islamabad, 22 September 2022 (TDI): Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Tariq Bashir Cheema, welcomed a delegation led by South Asian Regional Director for Sustainable Development World Bank, John A Roome.

The officials discussed the rehabilitation and relief efforts in the floods and rains-affected areas with special reference to the farmer community and food security.

Remarks of the Federal Minister

Federal Minister, Tariq Bashir, said that floods 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.

Federal Minister Cheema said that the Ministry of National Food Security and Research has planned to subsidize seeds and fertilizer to support the flood-affected farmers.

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 the agriculture departments of the provinces in every way possible, Cheema said.

Furthermore, Federal Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema appreciated the World Bank Group’s assistance to Pakistan in these difficult times.

Also read: World Bank to repurpose $850 million for flood relief

Remarks of the Regional Director

Director 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 the 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.

Moreover, he said that the World Bank is working with provincial agriculture departments to support the farming community.

In addition, he assured that he will request the World Bank Group Board to increase support for Pakistan to recover from the devastations caused by unprecedented floods.

Meeting with Department of Plant Protection

In another meeting, Federal Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema directed the 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 outbreaks 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 strictly inspect breeding and swarming areas to take restorative 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.