KARACHI (March 4) : The agriculture department is most important and it has to take necessary measures to steer the small growers out of poverty by introducing new cropping patterns and introducing small crops which are cultivated within three months.
This he said while presiding over a meeting of agriculture department here at the Chief Minister House today. Those who attended the meeting include Senior Minister Finance Syed Murad Ali Shah, Minister Agriculture Sardar Ali Nawaz Maher, Chief Secretary Siddique Memon, Principal Secretary Alamuddin Bullo, Additional Chief Secretary (Dev) Mohammad Waseem, Secretary Agriculture Shahid Gulzar Shaikh, Secretary Finance Sohail Rajput, Additional Secretary Agriculture- Tech Qadir Tareen, DG Engineering Agha Zafar Durani, DG Agriculture Research Agha Zaheer and others.
Secretary Agriculture Shahid Gulzar briefing the meeting about the World Bank assisted Sindh Irrigated Agriculture Productivity Enhancement Project (SIAPEP) said that it is a five-year (2015-16 to 2020-21) project launched for Rs30.13 billion which include RS18.68 billion loan, Rs5.33 billion farmers contribution and Rs6.12 billion Sindh government share.
Talking about objectives of the project, secretary agriculture said that it was aimed at improving agriculture productivity of small and medium size farmers cultivation by taking necessary measures such as lining of watercourses upto 30 percent of the total length; provision of farmers community flood shelters; introduction and expansion of high efficiency irrigation system; training of farmers in improved agriculture practices, including integrated pest management, irrigation agronomy; provision of laser land leveling and deep ripping equipment for deep ploughingand training in improved agronomic practices. He added that the capacity building and training of departmental staff would be conducted.
Replying to a question, Shahid Gulzar said that under the project 5500 water courses would be improved at a cost of Rs9.22 billion during the five-year programme. Under watercourse improvement 76 percent funding would be given by World Bank while 24 percent share to be borne by farmers. He added that the other component of the project is Mitigation of Flood Risk for the poor under which 380 shelter home and cattle shades would be constructed for Rs1.1 billion.
He said that 2600 units of High Efficiency Irrigation Systems would be installed to irrigate 35,000 acres at a cost of Rs5.7 billion. “We are also developing hig efficiency demonstration sites under which 48 units for 240 acres kitchen gardening high efficiency 10,000 kits to be provided to poor female farmers. This project would cost Rs197.4 million but under the kitchen gardening project female farmers would be able to solve the issue of their square meals within their home.
Giving progress of the project, Shahid Shaikh said that 526 watercourses survey and design for improvement have been completed, 510 applications for provision of Laser Land Leveling equipment have been received, 25 applications from the growers have also been received for installation of drip systems.
talking about status of procurement, he said that in accordance of World Bank Procurement guidelines the procurement of goods have been initiated. Project supervision and implementation assistance consultants have been appointed and they are on board from February 2016. He added that the bids invited for procurement of IT and field equipments have been opened in February and the evaluation of the bids is under process.
The chief minister directed the secretary agriculture not to deviate from the procurement guidelines of the World Bank. “I want you to develop all these projects in the larger interest of our agro-economy,” he said and added that he would get another presentation on agriculture supply & Prices and Sindh Agriculture Growth Project in the next meeting.