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Event Title: Senate Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research

Event Date: 2019-06-13

Senate Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research in its meeting was told that cotton target for the year 2019-20 was on an area of 3.28 million hectares and production of 15.02 million bales. Sowing target was of 2.785 million bales with 2.44 million hectares area sown as of now.

The meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah here at the Parliament House on Thursday and was attended among others by Senators Seemee Zaidi, Mir Kabeer Shahi, Najma Hameed, Minister for National Food Security and Research, Secretary National Food Security and Research, Managing Director PASSCO, Member Federal IRSA.

On the matter of regularisation of 64 posts of 3 projects in Balochistan moved by Senator Mir Kabeer Ahmed Shahi, the ministry told that the projects ended in June 2018 and the advertisement clearly stated that the contract will end when the project ends and there will be no permanent jobs. The Committee directed the ministry to devise a mechanism that these people who have experience in working may be given preference as and when any regular vacancies are announced provided they meet other requisite qualifications. The Committee also recommended continuation of the project if there is any need for the province.

MD PASSCO told the meeting that torrential rains and hailstorms at the critical time of near harvesting not only damaged the standing crop but per acre yield was also affected. Secretary National Food Security and Research was requested to approach the ministry of law and justice for filing a review petition for a one time waiver to its decision of banning allotment of land in the matter of construction of godowns in District Umerkot. The Committee also recommended carrying out aerial spray in areas of Sindh and Balochistan where cotton crops have chances of damage by pests attack.

Regarding special committee on agriculture proposed to impose duty on cotton import and move a summary for support price, the Committee was told that summaries have been sent to bodies concerned and views are awaited from ministry of commerce and FBR. The Committee also recommended having meetings of the Pakistan Central Cotton Committee more frequently preferably on quarterly basis.

The Committee was told that as of now 1440 posts are vacant in the ministry and all of its attached departments with 820vacancies from BPS 1-15 and 620 vacancies of BPS 16-22 and the process of filling vacancies is ongoing. The Committee recommended advertising the posts in national as well as regional newspapers to ensure people from all areas get the opportunity.

Regarding availability of Water, the Committee was told by IRSA that total reservoir position as of today is 2.512 million acre feet against 1.818 million acre feet in last year and no shortage is being observed as of today. The anticipated water availability this year is 47.77 million acre feet against 39.40 in last year.

The prices of fertilizers available in market were termed to be Rs.1840 of Urea per 50 KG, 2811 of NP, 2968 of NPK, 3565 of DAP, 4313 of SOP. The Committee noted that farmers are being made to earn less with more cost of production for cotton crop and hence hey are shifting to more profitable crops which if not dealt with seriously can have drastic effects on agricultural share in economy and GDP.