The World Bank will provide Pakistan financial support of $22.2 million for the rehabilitation of flood-affected farmers through a project.
According to a government handout issued on Thursday, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Tariq Bashir Cheema met a delegation led by World Bank South Asia Regional Director for Sustainable Development John A Roome.
During the meeting, the rehabilitation and relief efforts in the floods and rains-affected areas with special reference to the farmer community and food security were discussed.
The minister 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.
He mentioned that the government has planned to subsidize seeds and fertilizer to support the affected farmers. According to the proposal, the federal government will provide subsidized inputs to farmers for the upcoming Rabi season on a cost-sharing basis with the provinces.
“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 National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). He hoped farmers will be able to stand back on their feet after this support.
John A Roome said that the World Bank will help Pakistan through projects targeted to rehabilitate the affected community. He agreed to support the rehabilitation of the farming community in affected districts and locust 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.
He said that he will request the World Bank Group Board to increase support for Pakistan to recover from the devastations caused by unprecedented floods.
The minister appreciated World Bank Group’s assistance when helping hand in recovery and rehabilitation is needed more than ever
Meeting with Dept of Plant Protection
In another meeting, the minister 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.
The minister said 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.