KARACHI - President Asif Ali Zardari has directed that a Rabi Assistance Plan be launched immediately in the rain-affected areas of Sindh and provision of seeds for the farmers be ensured so that sowing of Rabi crop may start timely. During a high-level meeting on facilitation of Rabi crop in the flood-affected areas at the Bilawal House on Thursday, the president was informed that the recent heavy rains damaged crops on areas of 2.166 million acres and the agriculture sector sustained a loss of Rs218 billion. He was also informed about the existing arrangements made by the Sindh Agriculture Department for the distribution of seeds to the affected farmers. It was informed that the distribution of wheat seeds would be carried out transparently by the EDOs (Revenue) of the concerned districts and a monitoring committee. The committee would comprise elected representatives, DCOs, representative of Sindh Chamber of Agriculture and of the Sindh Abadgar Board. The department proposed a package costing Rs4.4 billion to be equally prepared by the federal and the provincial government for the affected growers. Under the package, wheat would be cultivated on an area of 1.100 million acres. Wheat seeds would be provided to the affected farmers at the rate of 50 kg per acre with one bag of urea weighing 50 kg. The department also informed the meeting that the total requirement of wheat would be 55,000 metric tonnes to cover the proposed area. The Sindh government has already released Rs1.00 billion from its share in the first phase. It was informed that initially 25 percent of wheat seed equalling to 13,750 metric tonnes was being provided in the affected districts. However, the president directed the required amount of certified wheat seed be purchased from for the Sindh Food Department to be distributed among the growers. He was informed that seed would be provided for the farmers' of up to 25 acres irrespective of land holding. It was informed that the DCOs have already been assigned the task of preparing detailed list of the affected growers on the basis of their CNICs and the lists are to be placed on internet at district website. The availability of imported fertiliser was also discussed during the meeting. It was decided to convene another meeting on Saturday to discuss the distribution of locally produced fertilisers as the imported fertilisers availability would take some more time. In a separate meeting on rebuilding of damaged infrastructure, the President directed that the infrastructural projects related to irrigation and roads which have been approved by the provincial government be finalised by the Planning Commission within one week and the work on these projects be started immediately and completed within one year.