KP moves to ensure food security, cut reliance on other provinces

ISLAMABAD: Food security is the most challenging issue in Pakistan after the recent heavy monsoon floods which washed away millions of acres of agricultural land countrywide. To overcome food security in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, the provincial government has taken some pragmatic steps.
A spokesperson for the KP food department told WealthPK that the flood has adversely affected almost every farmer causing food shortages in the country.
The provincial government has taken pragmatic measures to ensure food security to help reduce dependency on the other provinces. The floods destroyed almost 60% of crops, vegetables and fruits. The land of all the four provinces is very fertile and produces fruits, vegetables and crops of the finest quality.
He further said the KP government was the first to have introduced small, medium and long-term policies to overcome the problem of food security. Kisan cards have been introduced to help the farmers by providing them with subsidies on agricultural products.
The food department spokesperson said Chashma Right Bank Lift Canal (CRBC) project was also in the pipeline, which, on completion, would bring hundreds of thousands of acres of barren land under cultivation in the southern districts.
The initiatives for agriculture and livestock in settled districts include the reclamation of 4,185 acres for agricultural purposes. They also include the lining of 39,095 meters of waterways, training 2,500 farmers in advanced technologies, and establishing 228 fish farms for trout and carp.
He said some clean drinking water projects were also in the pipeline, including 1463 water schemes in the last four years. As many as 646 water supply schemes have been solarized, while 831 schemes have been completed in the sanitation sector during the past four years in the settled districts alone.
“The flood has damaged almost 14,397 acres of land in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), depriving it of a number of major crops, such as fruit orchards, rice, potato crops, and oil seeds. The loss of maize crops has been estimated at about Rs368.09 million in KP. Out of a total of 15,930 acres, 938 acres have been damaged by the flood causing a financial loss of Rs145.28 million,” he added.
He said the agriculture sector was a vital component of Pakistan’s economy, as it provided raw materials to the industries and helped in poverty alleviation. The agriculture sector’s growth is contingent on favourable weather conditions, he added.
The official said monsoon rains had long been wreaking havoc on Pakistan in terms of human casualties and destruction of already fragile infrastructures but climate change had further increased their frequency, ferocity and unpredictability in recent years.