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Meeting of the Standing Committee on Food and Agriculture

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Islamabad: Mr. Javed Iqbal Warraich, MNA/ Chairman Standing Committee on Food and Agriculture chaired a meeting on 23rd May, 2011 at 11:00 am in Committee Room No.07, Parliament House, Islamabad. The agenda of meeting was as following:-

i. Briefing and presentation on Budget 2011-2012 by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

ii. Achievements of projects in progress.

iii. Consideration of new projects with justification.

iv. To discuss Province-wise wheat production during current year

v. The Policy of the Government for purchasing wheat from farmers in each Province

vi. The problems faced by the farmers in selling their wheat.

vii. Any other item with the permission of the Chair.

Syed Amir Ali Shah, MNA, Mr. Nadeem Afzal Chan, MNA, Mr. Abdul Majeed Khan Khanan Khail, MNA, Mr. Muhammad Arshad Khan Laghari, MNA, Rana Tanveer Hussain, MNA, Dr. Abdul Kadir Khanzada, MNA, Syed Haider Ali Shah, MNA, Ch. Asghar Ali Jatt, MNA and Ch. Tassadiq Masood Khan, MNA attended the meeting.

The Committee recommended that Food security is sensitive issue; therefore decision to transfer Ministry of Food and Agriculture to Provinces, as decided in 18th Amendment, should be reversed. Planning Department/ Government of Pakistan to allocate budgetary funds for current year. Federal Research Department should remain in Federal Government and all irrelevant projects should be abolished. The Committee strongly recommended that Secretary Ministry of Food and Agriculture to close unnecessary projects as most of these projects are fraud. The Committee directed Secretary Ministry of Food and Agriculture to send brief containing closure of projects so that the Committee may recommend for continuity of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

The Committee noted that there is dire need of an agricultural research set-up at the federal level for various technical and professional reasons. These reasons include, research on trans-boundary and trans-provincial issues, differences in infrastructure and capacity of provincial research systems (federal system to fill in the gaps), presence of only PARC research system in Gilgit–Baltistan, PARC as technical arm of National Seed Council as custodian of Variety Evaluation Committee, custodian of National Plant Genetic Resources, research to protect Pakistan’s imports and exports and inter-provincial trade and commerce, and linkage with CGIAR and other international research institutions. The Committee recommended that PARC should not be dissolved.

The Committee felt that grower PASSCO and Middleman (Artee) face multiple problems in connection with purchase of wheat therefore procurement of wheat should be opened. The Middleman should be brought in the system in a transparent way. The Committee expressed concern that farmers are not getting adequate price of wheat i.e Rs. 850/- per maund instead of Rs.950/- The farmers are not getting Bardana and criticizing the Parliamentarians. The Committee said that PASSCO is indulged in bribery and corruption. In this regard, Ministry of Food and Agriculture/ PASSCO have made no progress. Only 5% of farmers have got Bardana.

The Committee recommended that existing policy and system of PASSCO/ Ministry of Food and Agriculture should be reviewed and restructured. M.D PASSCO should held “Khuli Kachehri” in each Tehsil. Ch. Tassadiq Masood Khan severally criticized M.D PASSCO to fail to check corruption of PASSCO staff in purchase of wheat. The Committee proposed Ch. Tassadiq Masood Khan, MNA to give in written so that inquiry may be held. The Committee expressed concern that pulses are being exported and Ministry of Food Agriculture/ PARC could not yet increase the production.

The Committee noted with concern that ECC have allowed PASSCO to export 2 million tons of wheat which may lead to shortage of wheat in Pakistan in next few months. The Committee recommended PASSCO should start purchase of wheat in Balochistan.

The Committee deferred the agenda item (i), (ii) and (iii) till final decision of Government that Ministry of Food and Agriculture will continue or otherwise.

The Committee expressed serious concern that in previous decision, the Standing Committee on Food and Agriculture had recommended to include the Parliamentarians in Board of Directors, PARC, which has not been implemented so far.

For more information, contact:
Karamat Hussain Niazi
National Assembly of Pakistan
Parliament House, Islamabad
Tel: +9251 922 1082 -83
Fax: +9251 922 1106


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