By admin       2019-03-01

February 28, 2019 - ISLAMABAD: Senate Standing Committee on Food Security on Wednesday was informed that the prime minister would soon announce cotton support price to boost production of the crop often described as white gold. Federal Minister for Food Security and Research Sahibzada Muhammad Mehmood Sultan told the meeting, chaired by Senator Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah, that the minimum price of cotton would be kept at Rs3,500 per ton and a target of purchasing 500,000 bales would be set. Moreover, the meeting reviewed the projects in progress under the new Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP). Apprising the committee of projects undertaken in the PSDP, Ministry of National Food Security and Research Secretary Dr Hashim Popalzai said that around 18 schemes worth Rs5.8 billion were released by the ministry. He added that a demand of Rs1.6 billion has been made for next financial year’s PSDP. The secretary also said that there are as many as 21 new and unapproved schemes with a cost of Rs14,900 million. And a demand of Rs3,161 million has been made for the new projects of PSDP, he added. It was highlighted that the PM started as many as 13 schemes worth 92,523 million for food and agriculture. Further a demand of Rs14,795 million has been put forward for projects under new PSDP. The committee was told that after devaluation, the development budget of the provinces should have been increased but it was reduced. Earlier, the budget allocated to the provinces was higher. To this, the chairman said Pakistan is an agricultural country and the provinces have to play their role for the progress of the agricultural department. Chairman Hussain stressed that the cultivation of cotton and sunflower has decreased at an alarming level. The committee recommended reduction in the rising production cost of the two crops. The committee was also informed that there was an Rs56 million worth of animal station project in Gwadar and Rs11 million has been demanded in PSDP. The chairman asked the number of livestock in Gwadar and summoned its details. He called for keeping those projects in PSDP that will be beneficial to the country and nation. It was also said that a project worth Rs17 million to keep the federal seed certificates online while Rs12 million have been demanded in the PSDP. It discussed the construction of warehouse in Umerkot, Sindh and planning of the Pakistan Agriculture Storage and Services Corporation (Pasco) for the purchase of wheat. The meeting also deliberated upon establishing special zones for different crops and the decrease of production cost of different crops by the ministry.

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