Caritas Pakistan gives wheat seeds to impoverished farmers

KARACHI (UCAN): Caritas Pakistan marked the 54th anniversary of its humanitarian assistance by distributing free wheat seeds to poor Muslim farmers and shepherds in a remote part of the southern port city of Karachi, the mountainous Gadap Town, bordering impoverished Balochistan province, which is home to farmers and shepherds who live in scattered communities.

Mansha Noor, executive director of Caritas Karachi, said small farmers in Gadap had faced a prolonged period of low rainfall that affected their annual produce.

“Gadap, which is spread over 1,100 square kilometres, remains one of the most neglected areas by the provincial and city governments. The area has no electricity, gas service or mobile phone coverage. And owing to lack of vegetation, the region has less rainfall,” Noor said.

“Hunger doesn’t always mean having an empty stomach. Another neglected aspect is micronutrient deficiencies, which make people susceptible to infectious diseases, impair physical and mental development, reduce their labour productivity and increase the risk of premature death. It also imposes a crushing economic burden on the developing world.”

Father Saleh Diego, vicar general and director of Caritas Karachi, said the objective of the program was to create awareness among farmers about hunger and food security.

“We have provided support of 50 kilogrammes of wheat seeds to each farmer. They may grow them in their fields and feed their families, and earn bread for themselves,” he added.

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Allah Bukhsh, the Muslim president of the Agriculture Development Committee, welcomed the Caritas initiative. He said each farmer will deposit 100 kilogrammes of wheat seeds in a seed bank at harvest time.

The entire community of farmers thanked Caritas for providing wheat seeds in the fight against hunger and undernourishment.

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