Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Rice farmers, cotton millers: Zardari for special credit package

President Asif Ali Zardari has held a meeting with the representatives of rice growers and cotton ginning millers at Chief Minister's House here on Tuesday to discuss the extent of damages to rice and cotton crops due to recent floods and examine the ways and means to retrieve the losses and help recover the lost ground.

The meeting was attended by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Federal Agriculture Minister Nazar Mohammad Gondal, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, Sindh Minister for Agriculture Ali Nawaz Shah, Irrigation Minister Saifullah Dharejo, Chief Secretary Sindh Fazlur Rehman, Chairman of Zarai Taraqiati Bank Ltd, representatives of State Bank of Pakistan and various concerned departments, president of Rice Millers Association Arif Hussain Mahesar and chairman of Cotton Ginners Association Rana Abdus Sattar.

The meeting was apprised that 50 percent rice crop has been damaged in Sindh. The President emphasised the need for using local rice as seed for the next crop instead of importing seed from abroad, saying that the imported seeds will take a longer time for acclimatisation.

The meeting was informed that 40,000 tons of rice seed would be needed for the next crop. President Zardari advised the government to devise such a policy that the country should not have to import rice seeds. He also asked SBP to devise a special package in consultation with the banks to give incentives to growers and millers to help them overcome the losses incurred on account of heavy floods. He advised the Sindh Home Minister to hold an inquiry into the complaints of 'warabandi' (closure of canal) in context of Nara Canal during the floods.

President Zardari also called for holding an inquiry against tax officials in Hyderabad with reference to complaints of issuing notices to the growers. Responding to a request by the rice growers and exporters, he directed the SBP to examine the possibility of setting up foreign exchange branches of all the banks in every district to facilitate growers and exporters.
Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2010

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