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EU vows Pak food security assistance

ISLAMABAD:  The Europe-Aid Director for Asia and Central Asia, Dirk Meganck has vowed that European Union will continue its support for combating rising food prices and ensuring food security in Pakistan.
“Pakistan is a great country, a great nation with a great potential and a large population but it is also a country affected by big problems, big calamities while the greatest calamity has been the recent floods. The ones who have suffered the highest in this country are those living in the rural areas amounting 60 to 70 per cent of the population and the people living in these rural areas contribute greatly to the economy,” he said while addressing a large gathering of small-scale farmers belonging to Farmer Interest Groups at Village Karsal in district Chakwal. Earlier the delegation was warmly welcomed and presented cultural Turbans and gifts by the farmers, said a news release issued today. Lauding the role of the implementing partners, FAO and WFP, Meganck expressed his pleasure to see the funds of 40 million euros have been utilized in a very good way, in ways to rebuild communities and to provide a sustainable environment, as sustainability is very important.

“Our purpose is to support and help build your communities especially when they are affected by such calamities”, he stated.
Later, he distributed large quantities of Wheat seed, fertilizer and winter vegetable seeds among the small-scale male and female farmers of village Karsal. The purpose of these distributions is to ensure that timely Rabi planting takes place in the flood hit Pakistan where the standing crops over 2.4 million hectares got washed away by the recent disastrous floods.
A number of agricultural lands were also visited by the delegation where farmers were planting wheat seeds with the help of the farm machinery provided by the European Union Food Facility and FAO. The Rabi package distribution is a part of the 40 Million Euros Food Facility Project which aims at combating the rising food prices in Pakistan. As a part of the EUFF initiative, the beneficiaries including small-scale farmers owning two to four hectares of land and the women who head households are receiving the Rabi Package which includes a 50kg bag of Wheat Seeds, a 50kg bag of Urea, 50kg DAP and vegetable seeds for Tomato, Turnip, Spinach and Peas, to produce adequate grain for their household consumption.
The European Union Food Facility is being implemented by FAO United Nations and WFP since May 2009 and it currently supports over 161,000 households of small-scale farmers in 17 most food vulnerable districts in Pakistan.The average landholding of these farmers is 2 to 4 acres of land. In Punjab it focuses districts Chakwal, Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan and Sahiwal. The delegation also visited the Kitchen gardening plots where women farmers planted various vegetable with the support from the European Union Food Facility Project and also observed training provided to them. They interacted with the women and expressed satisfaction over the positive outcome of the programme.-APP


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