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Eco-tourism projects, blue economy to be launched in Sindh

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KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and Federal Minister for Environment & Climate Change Sherry Rehman have agreed to work on different projects, including depollution of Manchhar Lake, development of eco-tourism on Keenjhar Lake and Miani Forest and fortifying fisheries cold chains and development of sustainable Fisheries Management Framework.

The meeting was held at CM House on Saturday and was attended by Provincial Minister for Forest & Wildlife Taimur Talpur, Chairman P&D Hassan Naqvi, Secretary Forest Badar Jamil Mendhro and Secretary Environment department Hassan Iqbal.

It was pointed out that the federal government has established a `The National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) to finance the subprojects that will contribute to enhancing Pakistan’s resilience to climatic and other natural hazards and to strengthen the government’s ability to respond to disasters triggered by natural hazards.

The Fund is also mandated to support climate related interventions for climate change adaptation and mitigation. It [The Fund] has already committed an amount of US$ 38.78 million nationally for implementing projects aligned and compliment the implementation of National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) and National Flood Protection Plan (NEPP-IV).

Sherry Rehman said that the Fund was planning to initiate proposal processing for Phase-II by November 2022 with anticipated approval of financing for the same by June 2023.

Blue Economy: The chief minister said that the NDRMF has approved a project’Towards Resilient Marine Ecosystem and Sustainable Blue Economy’ for Rs1.98 billion. The location of this one -year project, (2022-23 & 2023-2024) is the coastal areas of District Thatta, Sujawal, Badin & Karachi.

The project consists of two main components: Resilient Marine Ecosystem and Utilization of salinized land.

Resilient Marine Ecosystem: Resilient Marine Ecosystem through Sustainable Management of Fisheries Resource ecosystem includes different components as follows:

·      Establish fisheries protected areas through community engagement.

·      Establishment community policing through “Fisheries Stewardship Agreements (FSA)” in identified areas

·      Development of Sustainable Fisheries Management Framework (SFMF) for coastal fisheries (all jetties)

·      Fortification of fisheries cold chain and establish support facilities on two landing centers.

·      Installation of flake ice machine / chilling unit with cold storage at landing center on two landing centers

·      Installation of RO plant for clean water supply along with solar system compatible with RO on two landing centers.

·      Expansion of existing floating pontoon on two jetties.

·      Establishment & Management of field offices (porta cabin)

·      Establishment of check posts (porta cabin)

·      Installation of chillers / flake ice machines on boats

·      Provision of fish handling equipment to small boats and traders, including Iceboxes, Fish crates and Fish baskets

·      Replacing harmful fishing gears with sustainable gear.

·      Sensitization of unsustainable and illegal unreported & unregulated (IUU) fishing.

·      Alter at least 50 fishing trawlers to sustainable fishing boats (gillnetters etc.)

·      Monitoring of fishing boats movement through Installation of Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) on boats

Utilization of Salinized Land: Utilization of Salinized Land Caused by Sea Intrusion for Aquaculture. This project has also different components including establishment of Model Demonstration Aquaculture Farm; establish model farms for Backyard culturing of fin fish and Shellfish; livelihoods and family Nutrition Support for Women /Family; backyard Aquaculture ponds on not more than one-acre area with all required facilities for

women and families of coastal areas; provision of expert / technical services for backyard aquaculture systems; support for improving fish drying practices for women entrepreneurs; establishing 24/7 Extension Services for target districts and training & exposure of 1000 farmers and fishermen.

The chief minister said that these projects are already approved for the current financial year. He added that he wanted to start work on them at the earliest. The federal minister assured the chief minister that their funds would be released at the earliest so that the project could be started.

Miani Forest: The chief minister said that the Eco-Tourism Village at Miani Forest Hyderabad was a Rs. 645 million Project. He added that the Mini Forest was located 13 km from Hyderabad city via Hyderabad Bypass.

According to the CM the site has attracted recreational forest area due to its natural beauty and is considered a historical place. Mini Forest is on the national highway which makes it easily accessible and connects it with all major cities of the province. The project will have a catchment area comprising not only Hyderabad but Karachi and other major regions.

Manchhar Lake: The CM talking about co-Tourism Recreational Activities at Manchar Lake said that it was a Rs.910 million scheme. “Manchar is the largest shallow freshwater lake in Pakistan and it plays an important role as a natural habitat,” he said and added that therefore, it was environmentally very important.

The lake supports numerous fisher folk who depend on the fishes in the lake, Mr Shah said and added the water of the lake used to be clear but environmental degradation has dropped the quality of the lake.

The CM said that the main Nara valley Drain has led the lake to undergo environmental degradation. “The Road leading toward Manchar lake is from the old indus highway which

makes it easily accessible and connects it with all major cities of Sindh,” the CM said and added The project would have a catchment area comprising not only Hyderabad but Karachi and other major regions. Federal Minister Sherry Rehman urged the provincial government to prepare both the schemes of eco-tourism and approve them from PDWP and then send the same to the federal government. She added the federal government would fund the scheme through NDRMF or from any other source.

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Sindh Food Authority inks MoAs with ICCBS to ensure safe, hygienic, healthy food

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KARACHI: Sindh Food Authority (SFA), Government of Sindh, has signed two Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi.

Sindh Food Authority signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Halal Certification Testing and Research Services (HCTRS) and the Industrial Analytical Center (IAC), ICCBS, University of Karachi.

This MoA aims to create a long-term framework of collaboration, cooperation, and development of a strong linkage between SFA and the research centers of the ICCBS for the testing of food products, which is in the interest of both institutions.

The SFA Director General Agha Fakhar Hussain and Prof. Dr. Farzana Shaheen, the Director of the ICCBS, University of Karachi, signed the agreement in a meeting held at the HEJ, Research Institute of Chemistry, University of Karachi on Friday evening.

Among others who attended the meeting were officials from SFA Prof. Dr. Asad Sayyed, Dr. Naveed Bhutto, Dr. Seema, Danish Arshad, and officials from ICCBS, including Prof. Dr. Abid Ali, Prof. Dr. Syed Ghulam Musharraf, Prof. Dr. Shabana Simjee, Prof. Dr. Asmat Salim, Dr. Imran Malik, Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmad Khan, Dr. Shakil Ahmed, Jawaid Riaz, and others.

In his talk, the SFA Director-General praised the efforts made by the ICCBS administration to make this agreement possible in the interest of Sindh province. He also praised the industrial support and national services of the International Center (ICCBS).

He said the authority’s goal was to guarantee that the people of Sindh were fed in a safe, hygienic, and healthy manner by standards.

I want to have strong relations between SFA and the ICCBS, University of Karachi, he said, adding that SFA is trying to make all possible efforts to provide better food items to the people of Sindh.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Farzana Shaheen congratulated the officials of the SFA and ICCBS on the signing of the agreement. She hoped that this agreement would further strengthen the University’s HCTRS and IAC in the province.

Halal Testing Laboratory works to standardize and uplift the high-quality standard of nutrition & hygiene in Halal-certified food & other products by international export quality standards, she said.

Talking about IAC, the director said that IAC was doing their best to meet customer’s testing requirements with integrity, reliability, accuracy, precision of data, and timeliness of reports to achieve customer satisfaction and define specifications in compliance with ISO/IEC Laboratory Accreditation System and ISO 9001Quality Management System.

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DG Sindh Food Authority Agha Fakhar disburses certificates

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KARACHI: Director General of the Sindh Food Authority Agha Fakhar Hussain distributed certificates among the participants at the HEJ, University of Karachi.

The certificates were given away to the participants of the highly prestigious Training Programme over Halal Food and Meat Detection Methods Training and Inter-laboratory Comparison for Organisation of Islamic cooperation (OIC) countries (2022-SMIC-006) held at Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in hybrid format on October 23, 2023. The certificate were signed by the SMIIC General Secretary.  

Prof. Dr. Syed Ghulam Musharraf (Tamgha-e- Imtiaz) and Prof. Dr. Farzana Sheen attended the event.

The SMIIC (Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries) is an intergovernmental and one of the 17 affiliated organizations of the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation). Its primary focus is on standardization and metrology technical elements.

Pakistani candidates participated through online sessions. The participants were selected through a detailed procedure and tests.

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Sindh Food Authority appoints Dr Rashida Irtifaq as its Ambassador

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KARACHI: The Sindh Food Authority (SFA) is to appoint prominent educationist Professor Dr Rashida Irtifaq Ali as Honorary Senior Food Safety and Hygiene Ambassador.

In light of this significant appointment, a ceremony has been scheduled for January 9, 2024 at Jinnah Auditorium Dr AQ Khan Institute of Bio-Technology and Genetic Engineering, University of Karachi.

Caretaker Chief Minister Sindh Justice (R) Maqbool Baqar, Secretary Food, Government of Sindh and other dignitaries will attend the event to support the vision of the Sindh Food Authority.

Professor Dr Rashida Irtifaq Ali has been an integral part of Karachi University for the past fifty years where she not only fulfilled her teaching responsibilities but also played a pivotal role in establishing the Department of Food Sciences and Technology.

At the age of 85, Dr Rashida Ali continues to serve in academia and the industry, demonstrating an unparalleled commitment to education.

While talking to Sindhnews, Sindh Food Authority’s Director General Agha Fakhar Hussain said that the food authority had recognized contributions of Professor Dr Rashida Irtifaq by appointing her as the Honorary Senior Food Safety and Hygiene Ambassador, a position that reflects her expertise and dedication to the field.

The appointment of Dr Rashida Irtifaq will not only acknowledge her achievements but will also provide an opportunity to raise awareness among university students about the principles of health preservation related to food consumption.

In the event, Dr Rashida Irtifaq will also be presented with a shield by the Sindh Food Authority as a token of appreciation for her outstanding contributions, says Agha Fakhar.

The Sindh Food Authority was established in April 2018 under the SFA Act 2016 and the Authority has been established Under Section-3 (1) of the Act ibid with the mandate to provide safe, hygienic and health food to the people of Sindh, he adds.

The Authority is performing its functions accordingly as per the Sindh Food Authority Act 2016 but the major hurdle is the lack of awareness among general masses and food handlers at large, regarding the food safety and hygiene principles.

The authority’s mandate to provide safe, healthy and hygienic food to the people of Sindh can not only be achieved witht eh coercive measures but it requires general awareness campaign among the masses and food handlers and the issue demands the participation of all segments of the society, the DG concluded.

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