KARACHI (June 06 2003) : A meeting of the Task Force Committee was held toreview the progress made in respect of decisions taken in its earlier fourmeetings regarding enhanced production of coconut and oil palm plantationin the coastal belt of Sindh.
Additional Chief Secretary, Planning and Development, chaired the meetingheld at the Headquarters of Coastal Development Authority here onThursday.
The Task Force Committee (TFC) was formed during October 2001 on thedirective of Minister for Finance and Planning and Development, forboosting coconut and oil palm plantation in the coastal belt of Sindh inview of increasing import bill of edible oil which today stands at aroundRs 40 billion.
The TFC comprises the members from private sector, including banks,government organisations/ departments. In the meeting the ForestDepartment presented the survey report of coconut plantation as being verysuccessful.
It was informed that infrastructure in the coastal belt will be coveredunder the exercise of 'Statistical data collection of coastal belt ofSindh' which is in progress and will be completed by February 2004 at acost of Rs 3 million.
The meeting was told that 65,000 nuts have been imported from Sri Lankafor plantation.
The CDA and Forest Department have already planted coconut and oil palm on1,400 acres of land in Thatta District with survival percentage of beingwithin the range of 65 to 70 percent.
Munawar, Director General, CDA, told the meeting that oil palm is growingwell and the plantation made in 1997 at Gharo farm have attained fruitingage.
He stressed the need for installation of oil palm extraction plant so thatprivate growers could be encouraged in this field.
All the member of TCP supported the proposal. Haris Shaikh, ProvincialDirector, Pakistan Oilseed Development Board, informed the meeting thatthis matter is already before the Ministry of Food and Agriculture forconsideration.
He said that about 1,000 acres have already been brought under plantationat government level as well as by private entrepreneurs while 0.15 millionpre-germinated seeds have been imported from Malaysia.
He said the target for current year is 0.2 million seeds out of which46,000 seeds have been imported by now and are growing at Gharo Farm inThatta.
Ahsanul Huq, a progressive grower, described coconut a successful crop ofcoastal belt and said a farmer can earn sufficient income even from 2acres of land.
Representatives of various banks informed the meeting that they havealready reduced the mark-up rate from 15 to 11 percent while loan recoverywill be made at the time of plant maturation.
However, they said the mark-up will be recovered from the date the loan issanctioned.
The MCB representative said that his bank is charging 12 percent mark-upon such loans.
According to another decision, the Task Force Committee will now meetregularly every three month.-APP