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Turkey distributes wheat seeds among flood-hit farmers

Muhammad Saleh Zaafir
Sunday, Nov 13, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Turkey has come forward in a big way for provision of much-needed wheat seed to the flood-affected farmers of Pakistan after a massive supply of relief goods for flood victims.

The sowing of the Rabi crop is already under way and floods have washed away every belonging of the submerged areas in Sindh, Balochistan, KP and South Punjab, which experienced the worst floods four months ago. Well-placed sources told The News here on Saturday that Turkey was among the first countries that established air-bridge between Islamabad and Ankara for an uninterrupted supply of assistance during floods and its experts reached the flood-hit areas, now the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) had launched a programme to provide wheat seeds to thousands of farmers to help them grow crops in Sindh and Balochistan.

The TIKA, a Turkish state-run aid agency, is assisting flood-battered farmers in Pakistan to mitigate a looming threat to food security caused by super floods and rains that inundated millions of acres of croplands across the country. Wheat is the main Rabi crop and a major source of income for millions of farmers across Pakistan. The sources claimed that the relief agency had distributed 60 tons of wheat seeds among 700 small-scale farmers in eight worst-affected districts of Sindh as an initial step. The districts are Nawabshah, Dadu, Khairpur Badin, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot, Matiari and Sanghar.

The TIKA held a ceremony in the Matiari district to provide wheat seeds to over 100 farmers in collaboration with the Sindh Agricultural University in Tandojam, Hyderabad, and the Rural Agriculture Extension Department Sindh.

The programme is aimed at assisting small-scale farmers who have suffered huge losses in terms of ready-to-reap crops and cash due to massive floods and rains. Since floodwaters have receded in many parts, seeds and fertilizers are the key requirements of millions of farmers in the flood-hit areas. The support and gesture of Turkey is being widely hailed by the people of the areas.

The sources pointed out that Turkey had so far sent 15 planes and seven trains loaded with relief goods including tents, boats, food items, medicines, vaccines, and other items on the instructions of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) had also set up three “tent cities” in the Dadu, Hyderabad and Noshero Feroz districts of Sindh, providing temporary housing to some 3,000 flood-affected people.

The drenching monsoon that began in mid-June and lasted until late September killed over 1,700 people and inundated a third of Pakistan, washing away hundreds of thousands of houses, schools, bridges and animals and destroying millions of acres of cropland.

The massive floods have caused more than $30 billion in losses to the nation’s already-struggling economy, mainly in infrastructure and agriculture. Turkey’s Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Mehmet Pacaci is in constant contact with the authorities in Pakistan for making assessment of the situation, the sources said.

Halil Ibrahim Basaran has been acting as Karachi coordinator of TIKA and is personally supervising the whole operation for providing assistance to the needy, the sources pointed out.