Hearing on food security: Senate body expresses reservations over PARC chief’s foreign visits

Balochistan faces water shortage of 41pc, Sindh 15pc, Punjab 20pc, KP 34pc, committee told

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Tariq Virk

ISLAMABAD

Senate Standing Committee on National Food Security on Wednesday expressed strong reservations over the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) Chairman, Yusuf Zafar’s visits to foreign countries.

The committee meeting was held under the chair of Senate Standing Committee on National Food Security Chairman Syed Muzafar Hussain Shah here at the Parliament House.

Expressing concern over unnecessary visits of the PARC chairman, Shah asked could the Yusuf Zafar brief the committee on his visits to the foreign countries and what benefit his visits brought to the country?

The committee also sought details regarding inquiries conducted by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) into alleged corruption in the olives cultivation project.

Senator Shah said that the PARC Chairman, Yusuf Zafar, visited many foreign countries, including Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, asking him what profit his visits brought to the country.

He said that measures should be taken to establish trust of international companies so that improvement in the quality and variety of wheat and cotton could be brought about.

The committee was informed that Balochistan received lowest water share during the Kharif season.

It was further briefed that Sindh faced 15 per cent, Punjab 20 per cent, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 34 per cent and Balochistan 41 per cent shortage of water during the current season.

The senate body was informed that the country faced a shortfall 3.5 million cotton bales.

Crops can face up to 34 per cent shortage of water during the current season, the committee was informed.

The senate body directed the competent authority to distribute pamphlets about seeds and their types to farmers in time.

The committee chairman asked how many varieties of seeds are being produced in the country?

He said the Plan Breads Act was approved in 2016 and now it was 2018.

No foreign investment was made till now, Senator Shah said.

He also asked for the reasons behind lack of foreign investment.