WB to provide $22.2m in aid to Pakistan’s flood-hit farmers

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The World Bank will provide Pakistan $22.2 million in “financial support” for the rehabilitation of flood-affected farmers, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research.

The announcement was made during a meeting between World Bank South Asia Regional Director for Sustainable Development John A Roome and Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Tariq Bashir Cheema in Islamabad on Thursday.

While discussing the rehabilitation and relief efforts in flood-hit areas with reference to farmer community and food security, he said the bank will 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.

Roome said he will also request the World Bank Group Board to increase support for Pakistan “to recover from the devastation caused by unprecedented floods”.

The bank is working with provincial agriculture departments to support the farming community, he added.

Cheema said that floods and rains had played havoc on the agriculture sector and 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 said his ministry had planned to subsidise seeds and fertilisers to support farmers badly impacted by floods.

“The federal government will provide subsidised 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,” he told the meeting. He also underlined that the government planned to provide subsidised wheat and edible oil seeds, and one fertilizer bag per acre to each farmer in the affected areas.

The disbursement will be through provincial governments and NDMA, he added.

In another meeting, Cheema directed the Department of Plant Protection (DPP) to prepare a comprehensive plan to deliver the seeds and fertilisers to the flood-affected regions by the end of the month.

He also directed authorities to “rigorously inspect breeding and swarming areas to take remedial action” against locust attacks.

Pakistan has been lashed out by unprecedented monsoon downpours that flooded a third of the country — an area the size of the United Kingdom —and killed nearly 1,600 people, according to the National Disaster Management Authority.

In its daily situation report, the authority said that seven more people lost their lives in the previous 24 hours.

 

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