Today, in its eleventh session of the third regular session of the third legislative session, chaired by Speaker Hammouda Sabbagh, the People's Assembly discussed the performance of the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform and issues related to its work, especially ways of marketing the wheat crop.
The Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, Eng. Mohamed Hassan Qatana, gave a presentation on the ministry’s work plan, indicating that the ministry is coordinating with all public authorities to secure production requirements for farmers and market wheat, while the area of land planted with wheat has increased this year.
Minister Qatana stressed that there are a number of difficulties encountered in the cultivation of wheat crops this year, most notably the decline in the percentage of rain precipitation, the lack of fertilizers and the lack of fuel, while the governorate of Hasaka passed the most severe drought conditions this year, knowing that the government gave priority to the provision of diesel and fertilizers in favor of planting wheat because it is a strategic crop .
He pointed out that monitoring committees were formed in the governorates to prevent the exploitation of farmers in relation to the wages of combines and tractors, and several measures were taken to support the poultry sector, achieve relative stability in broiler prices, and implement a plan to combat locust swarms.
In their interventions before the council, a number of council members focused on the necessity of raising the price of a kilo of wheat received from farmers, receiving the entire crop regardless of the amount of crime in it, increasing incentives for farmers, securing production requirements and preventing the exploitation of farmers by traders and brokers.
Some members called for postponing all installments owed to farmers during the current season and coordinating with the Ministry of Finance to compel General Customs to be strict in combating Awassi sheep smuggling and protecting and promoting livestock.
A number of members pointed to the importance of preparing a legislative instrument to exempt state land rents from interest and to secure mechanisms for agricultural directorates and heavy machinery for land reclamation, while others considered that the Seed Multiplication Corporation bears responsibility for the low quality of the wheat crop, as a number of farmers complained that they received wheat seed mixed with barley.
A number of members stressed the need for the General Foundation for Feed to contract with farmers to grow and produce maize instead of importing it, maintain idle agricultural wells, increase extension units, re-sort engineers, count and number livestock, and distribute fruitful seedlings to farmers at acceptable prices.
For his part, Minister of State for People's Assembly Affairs, Eng. Maloul Al-Hussein, gave a presentation before the Assembly on the measures and decisions taken in the Presidency of the Council of Ministers in its previous session related to service and living issues.
In their response to Minister Al-Hussein’s presentation, a number of council members called on the Ministry of Finance to review the mechanisms for implementing the real estate sales law, how to determine the popular prices for real estate and the tax imposed on both rents and sales, and to reconsider the monetary limit required to be deposited in the real estate, land and vehicle sales account, and the need to raise the maximum permissible limit. Transferring it from the Syrian currency between the governorates, facilitating the withdrawal of depositors’ money in Syrian pounds from banks, and raising the daily limit.
A number of members called for accelerating the implementation of the administrative reform project, clarifying the criteria used in selecting managers and assistants, accelerating the sorting of engineers, appointing laid-off workers in public institutions and bodies, and allowing specialized competitions to be held, especially in the health and education sectors, to make up for the shortfall in them. They wondered about the reason for the delay in amending the basic and unified law for workers. In the state and presented to the Council.
The response of the Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform to the verbal and written interventions, demands and inquiries of the members of the Council related to the performance of the ministry was postponed to tomorrow’s session, which was raised to 11 o’clock.
Waseem Al-Adawi and Firas Safi