By Sajjad Hussain
Islamabad, Sep 22 (PTI) The World Bank would provide Pakistan a financial support of USD 22.2 million for the rehabilitation of farmers affected due to the devastating floods in several parts of the country, an official statement issued by the country’s National Food Security and Research said on Thursday.
The announcement came towards the end of 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.
Pakistan continues to suffer due the devastating floods that has so far killed over 1,500 people and left about 78,000 square kilometres (21 million acres) of crops under water.
The WB official on Thursday said that 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 WB Group Board to increase support for Pakistan “to recover from the devastation caused by unprecedented floods”, adding that the bank is working with provincial agriculture departments to support the farming community.
Minister 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.
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 decision by the WB to support farmers came after the floods devastated crops and inundated farmlands, wreaking havoc on the rural economy. PTI SH RUP RUP