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Sindh sees 5mn people below poverty line: Murad tells IRC chief



KARACHI: The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has agreed to work with the Sindh government in post-flood relief activities, and climate change-related plans, and to help in the health sector, particularly against malnutrition.

This emerged in a meeting between the Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and IRC CEO Mr. David Miliband (through video link) on Friday morning.

The CM told the IRC chief that as per the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment report Sindh has been at the receiving end of about 61 percent of the total damages and 75 percent of the total losses due to the floods. Adding that the adverse impact of climate change has disrupted every conceivable facet of life in the province.

Mr. Shah said that the devastating impact of floods has ‘undone’ a significant chunk of public sector investments in the province as it permeated across all sectors. He added that 24 out of the 30 districts have been declared ‘calamity-hit where the floods have affected more than 12.4 million people, with more than 1000 lives lost as well as over 2 million housing units impacted, and over 450,000 livestock perished.

The CM said that about 20,000 schools and more than 1000 health facilities have been damaged. He added that about 8,500 km of the road network and 7,300 km of irrigation network has also been damaged and the estimates suggested the provincial poverty rate may increase, pushing an additional 5 million people below the poverty line with over 4.3 million additional people facing the threat of food insecurity.

The IRC CEO said that his organization was interested in working with the provincial government on relief activities, climate-change-related plans, and in the health sector, particularly in malnutrition and mother-child health. He added that his organization was working in eight districts of the province, Dadu, Jamshoro, Thatta, Sujawal, Badin, Tharparkar, and Umerkot to address malnutrition issues among pregnant mothers and mother-child healthcare.

The Chief Minister and Mr. Miliband also discussed the strategic plan developed by the provincial government.

Strategic Action Plan

The CM said that the ‘Strategic Action Plan’ developed by his government aimed to guide Sindh’s Flood Response and priorities from a short-, medium- and long-term perspective. “The core focus of the action plan is to serve as a guide for strategic prioritization for planning, programming, and implementation for Sindh in the post-flood context,” he said and added the strategic action plan prioritized critical intervention areas to address systemic issues, especially concerning disasters which include `Rectifying the Systemic Issues, People-Centered Approach, Building Upon the Existing Models and Systems and Aligning Existing Budgetary Framework with Resource Commitments.

The strategic action plan focuses on Irrigation and Water Resource Infrastructure (including Drainage Systems), housing and community facilities, livelihood, communications (Roads Infrastructure), Education, Health, and Human Impact (Poverty, Social Protection, Food Security, Psycho-Social impact).

Murad Ali Shah told IRC that the growers have been given cash to purchase wheat seed at a rate of Rs5000 per acre, as a result, Sindh has grown a bumper wheat crop during the ongoing Rabi season. He also added that the flood-affected people were being given cash to reconstruct/repair their damaged houses. The work has been started in Hyderabad and Sukkur Divisions. The IRC CEO told the chief minister that he would discuss the issues faced by the provincial government with his team and then visit Karachi to meet in person to finalize the relief activities program.


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



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



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



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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