LAHORE: Under the “Punjab Resilient and Inclusive Agriculture Transformation (PRIAT)” project, the agriculture sector will be helped to reduce the adverse effects of climate change, install modern irrigation systems and promote profitable agriculture.

This five-year project will be implemented by water management wing and total cost of Rs 68 billion to provide modern irrigation system facilities to the farmers, out of which the World Bank is providing support of more than Rs 45 billion. Under this project, more than 1.330 million rural farm families will get direct benefit.

These views were expressed by Special Secretary Agriculture Marketing (Punjab) Syeda Kulsum Hai while addressing the launching ceremony of “Punjab Resilient and Inclusive Agriculture Transformation (PRIAT)” project,

Member Planning and Development department Aslam Javed said that this project is one of the mega projects of Punjab government. This project will promote efficient use of water which will directly benefit the small farmers. Apart from this the project will also help in reducing the harmful effects of climate change.

Agriculture and Food Practice Manager, World Bank for South Asia, Oliver Braedt said that with the support of the World Bank, under this project, the production of crops in Punjab province will improve by 25 percent, while the water productivity will improve by 20 percent. He further added that under this project, employment opportunities will also be created for more than 5000 rural youth.

Director General Agriculture (Irrigation Reform) Punjab Malik Muhammad Akram said that under this project, 3000 water courses will be improved and modern irrigation system will be installed on 40000 acres while solar system will be installed on 20000 acres. Under this project, one million acre feet of water will be saved annually across the province and about 6 lakh acres of water will be saved.

He further said that according to the project document, the goals of agricultural development will be achieved in time. In the ceremony, Country Representative International Water Management Institute Mohsin Hafeez and others also gave their presentation.

In the end of the ceremony, Special Secretary Agriculture (Marketing), Punjab, Additional Secretary Agriculture (Admin) and Director General Agriculture (Irrigation Reform) distributed commemorative shields to the World Bank representatives.

Additional Secretary Agriculture (Admin) Umar Sher Chatta, Chief Executive PARB Dr Abid Mehmood, Director Agriculture Information Punjab Mohammad Rafiq Akhtar, Director Irrigation Reform Headquarters Hafiz Qaiser Yasin and other stakeholders participated in the event.

Meanwhile, spokesperson of the Punjab Food department while declaring the government subsidised wheat as per standard told that the Food department is supplying good quality wheat to the flour mills keeping in view the principles of health hygiene and there is no compromise on its quality. The spokesperson further said that flour mills are strictly monitored by the Food department.

In these circumstances, there is no question of supplying of non-standard low-ratio wheat to the flour mills, but the flour made from the government wheat contains essential food ingredients and vitamins.

He said that government flour is available in abundant quantity in the markets and trucking points of Lahore city and continuous supply is going on. There is no shortage of flour in any area of Lahore.

The spokesperson further said that the secretary Food Punjab has zero tolerance against the production of non-standard flour. Immediate and strict action is being taken to ensure availability of flour and against those flour mills which produce low substandard flour. In order to ensure the quality of flour, a meeting was held under the command of Secretary Food participated by the director Food Punjab and DG Punjab Food Authority, in previous day .In the meeting a strategy was framed to check the quality of flour on daily basis by taking its sample.