FAO delegation meets Food & Agriculture Minister
By: Yasir Ilyas
ISLAMABAD, October 28, 2010: A delegation led by Dr. Jacques Diouf, Director General Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) met Federal Minister for food and agriculture Nazar Mohammad Gondal here on Thursday.
Dr. Jacques Diouf said that his visit is an expression of friendship and support to the people and government of Pakistan. He added that the magnitude of the flood was extremely high and the government of Pakistan promptly responded to it. He appreciated the government’s plan to restructure the infrastructure damaged by the floods.
Federal minister for Food & Agriculture, Nazar M. Gondal said that the efforts to assist the flood affected community by the international community especially by the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) deserve appreciation.
“We are grateful to the international community for the prompt response to assist the flood affected people. Our ministry is here to assist, coordinate and support the activities for the damaged agriculture sector of the country in any way required. Losses of about $ 3.5 billion in damages to our standing crops and an affected population of 20 million people needs a comprehensive plan to restart the farming activities and enable the people to earn their livelihood”, said the minister.
Mr. Gondal said that the on-going projects of FAO should not be stopped and the assistance plan for the flood affected areas must be a wholly separate programme. He said that relief to the affected people must be provided in a way so that its results are visible. “Rehabilitation of the damaged irrigation channels and water courses can positively impact a huge number of households in the flood affected regions. Free of cost seed and fertilizers for the sunflower may also be provided along with a similar package for wheat sowing”, added the minister.
The D.G informed the participants that FAO are already an $ 8 million Agriculture Development Programme for the border areas of Balochistan apart from a $ 34 m Combating Rising Food Prices Programme that supported by EU. He further said that the ministry’s recommendations and suggestions would incorporate for the recovery programmes of the agriculture sector.
The meeting was also attended by Secretary, additional secretaries and other officials from FAO and Ministry of Food and Agriculture.