Peshawar: Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak has enhanced allocation for Insaf Food Security Program (IFSP) from Rs.190 million to 1200 million for the current (first) year of the three year project.
The amount will be used to procure the certified wheat seed for free of cost distribution among farmers of the province holding one to12.5 acres of land. The project is part of the present PTI’s government agenda for making the province self reliant in wheat production by facilitating the farmers and land owners.
The Chief Minister announced that subsidy on fertilizers would also be given to farmers from next year in a bid to further increase wheat production in the province.
Presiding over a meeting regarding arrangements of free of cost wheat seed distribution under IFSP, held at the Chief Minister secretariat Wednesday, Mr. Khattak directed the Agriculture department to work out financial implications and benefits of provision of subsidized fertilizers to farmers of the province so that the proposed scheme could be included in the next year’s budget.
He also directed the department to make such arrangements which could ensure self reliance in the safe and certified wheat seed of acceptable and popular varieties. He said, since procurement of wheat and seed from the Punjab province costs heavily to the provincial exchequer, therefore, it was inevitable to produce at least as much wheat locally as we require to meet the needs of the whole province.
He said for this purpose the present government had initiated a scheme for three years under ISFP at a cost of Rs.3.778 billion to provide free and certified wheat seed to the farmers adding that in return the farmers shall have to sell half of the produce to the provincial government.
The Chief Minister also asked the Agriculture department to expedite the process of the seed procurement and its distribution and also make effective publicity of the scheme to inform the beneficiaries.
The meeting was informed that 978000 farmers would be benefitted from the scheme in three years and each year 25% increase in wheat harvest worth Rs. 5135 million is expected. According to the eligibility criteria, approved by the meeting, the farmers holding 1-12.5 acres of agricultural land will be able to acquire free of cost seed and it would be necessary for them to cultivate the seed and sell a half of the wheat to be produced so to the provincial government.
The District Director of Agriculture and Revenue officials in every district will scrutinize the farmers’ applications for issuing them the free seed while the seed will be distributed by the district level committees which will also include the local labour councillors.
The meeting was told that in response to the announcement of the scheme a demand for certified seed has reached to 20 thousand tons while the Agriculture department has so far placed orders for procurement of 16300 tons of certified seed. It was further informed that a total area of 978000 acres of land would be cultivated in three years.
Provincial Minister for Agriculture Ikramullah Gandapur, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Zarin Zia, MPAs Samiullah Khan and Arbab Jehandad Khan, Secretaries of Agriculture and P&D departments and other concerned officials attended the meeting.