Punjab reopens agri machinery workshops as harvesting nears
Amid the nationwide lockdown, the Punjab government on Thursday ordered the concerned quarters to immediately reopen the workshops of agricultural machinery to meet the needs of farmers in the upcoming wheat harvesting season, 24NewsHD TV channel reported.
In this connection, Agriculture Minister Nauman Langrial said that the mechanics and farmers should follow the guidelines to curb the coronavirus spread.
Highlighting the importance of agricultural equipment and farming, he said the government had set a target of producing 19.6 million tonnes of wheat.
These orders followed Sindh which a few days back announced that the seeds, fertilizers and pesticides stores would be exempted from the lockdown.
Meanwhile, the upcoming harvesting and sowing season is of even more importance in the crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic given that the FAO, WTO and WHO have warned of possible food shortage in the world.
A joint signed by the heads of FAO, WHO and WTO said, “Uncertainty about food availability can spark a wave of export restrictions, creating a shortage on the global market.”
"In the midst of the COVID-19 lockdowns, every effort must be made to ensure that trade flows as freely as possible, specially to avoid food shortages," they added.
"When acting to protect the health and wellbeing of their citizens, countries should ensure that any trade-related measures do not disrupt the food supply chain," the statement added.
The exemptions granted in Sindh and Punjab are a good news, as the WTO, FAO and WHO chiefs also warned against hampering agricultural production.
“Over the longer term confinement orders and travel restrictions risk causing disruptions in agricultural production due to the unavailability of agricultural labour and the inability to get food to markets.”
"Such disruptions including hampering the movement of agricultural and food industry workers and extending border delays for food containers, result in the spoilage of perishables and increasing food waste," they added.