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INDUSTRY


May 06 -12, 2002

GOVT PLANS CUT IN CULTIVATION AREAS

Four major water and agriculture related ministries have suggested reduction in cultivation areas, changes in the cropping patterns and introduction of high-yield crop varieties to cope with the water shortages.

Official sources told that the chief executive secretariat has been advised to direct propagation of planned reduction in cultivation areas to match water availability in a very timely fashion to reduce the chances of crop failures due to water shortages.

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Federal Flood Commission of the Water and Power Ministry, Pakistan Meteorological department of the Ministry of Defence and Pakistan council of research in water resources of the Science Ministry have jointly submitted a report to the chief executive secretariat for medium (1-5 years) and long term (over 5 years) steps to cope with the water shortages.

The report suggested that to conserve water and meet shortage and match water requirement with supplies, appropriate patterns may be considered. This would require change over from high-delta to low-delta crops capable of giving higher returns to the farmers. Similarly, growing drought and salt-resistant crop varieties is another option that can be considered.

In the five-year plans, the report suggested lining of canals, distributaries and water courses to reduce water losses and increase water availability at the farmgate. However, since the system conveyance loss can be recouped in good quality aquifers by pumping, preference should be given to lining of distributaries, minors and watercourses in saline ground water areas.

MUSHARRAF: K-III PROJECT INAUGURATED

President Gen Pervez Musharraf has said that with the improvement of facilities in Karachi, the investment climate will improve and boost the economy.

"All efforts of the local, provincial and federal governments should focus in this direction, which will be better for Karachi, Sindh and Pakistan, and will lead us forward," he added.

President Pervez Musharraf was speaking after the ground- breaking ceremony of the Karachi Water Supply Scheme 100 mgd (K-III) project on Sunday, opposite the Karachi University where salient features of the project were also highlighted with the help of slides.

RS8BN LYARI EXPRESSWAY, BYPASS LAUNCHED

President Pervez Musharraf said on Saturday that with the progress achieved in the communication sector, not only all parts of Pakistan would be integrated with each other within the next three years but the country would also be integrated with the Central Asian states.

He was speaking as chief guest while performing the ground-breaking ceremony of Rs5 billion 16.6km-long Lyari Expressway and Rs3 billion 56km-long Northern Bypass, at an impressive ceremony held at the intersection of Mauripur Road and Mirza Adam Khan Road.

INCONSISTENCY IN WATER PROJECT OBSERVED

The specification of controversial Thal Flood Water Canal project is not in line with the design capacity as envisaged in the 1991 Water Accord, an official source said.

The inconsistency was pointed out at a briefing of Irsa members by Punjab Consultant M.H. Siddique and officials of WAPDA over the Thal Flood Canal and Satpara dam projects on Thursday, the source said.

Punjab seeking certification of Thal Flood Canal project from Irsa as mandated by the Water Accord informed the authority members that the capacity of the canal would be 8,500 cusecs, he added.

GROWERS FORCED TO SELL WHEAT AT BELOW RS300

A bumper wheat crop is causing financial hardships to the farmers who are finding it difficult to get officially fixed procurement price of Rs300 for 40 kg, and are reported to be compelled to offer their stock on Rs220 to Rs250.

Enquiries made with the farmers reveal that there are more than one problem to sell surplus wheat at the official procurement centres. "It starts from the procurement of empty gunny bags (Bardana) to the final weight.... there are a lot of inhibiting factors that force us to sell to the middlemen at much lower rates," a farmer said.

SIZEABLE SURPLUS SUGAR LIKELY THIS SEASON

The country is expected to have a sizeable exportable surplus of white refined sugar during the current crushing season and millers suggest that a small percentage should be reserved for export to Afghanistan.

"We are going to have a production surplus of over 0.7 million tons and after having a buffer stock of 0.2 million tons an exportable surplus of 0.5 million tons would be available," mill owners said.

The sugar industry had been demanding of the government to allow export of up to 0.2 million tons to ease the liquidity position of the mills which are presently holding unsold stocks of up to 1.883 million tons.

COTTON SEMINAR

The Karachi Cotton Association (KCA) and All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) are holding a joint seminar on 'Cotton Production, Quality Improvement and Hedge Trading in Cotton,' on Saturday.

The seminar will be inaugurated by Commerce Minister Abdul Razak Dawood.

SOCIAL SECTORS

A 2-day meeting of the Pakistan Development Forum (PDF) that ended on Tuesday in Paris accepted Pakistan's request to offer additional funds to drastically improve weak social indicators in the country.

"The meeting has sent a unanimous message that donors fully support the present government's reform agenda and would provide all possible increased assistance to Pakistan including the conversion of debt into swap funds for social sectors," said Secretary General Ministry of Finance, Moeen Afzal.