Karachi: According to OCHA, floods damaged or destroyed millions of acres of food crops, over two million homes, 13,000 km of roads, and more than 400 bridges. But there is more to come. With damaged crops and fields inundated, making it impossible to sow, the Sindh and Balochistan regions are slated to face a major food crisis.
In Sindh majority of the standing crop has been washed away. Cotton and Date palms are 100 percent damaged, while rice (78.72%), Kharif vegetables (88%), tomato (90%), and others have been devastated by flood-rain.
“Total crop area was damaged 3,777,272,” according to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority Rehabilitation Department Sindh.
“In flood-rain ravaged our crop, we are bearing 100 percent of damage which will take time to get back on the normal situation,” says a small grower Iqbal Jakhro whose crop had been damaged in a flood-rain in Thatta. “To cultivate crops is difficult as land is not ready for cultivation, and growers are facing a financial crisis,” he added. However, the Sindh government sounds to some extent confident about the coming seasonal crops.
“98 percent of the land of Sindh is ready for wheat cultivation,” as per the recent report, claims United Nations.
The President of Sindh Abadgar Association, Fayaz Rashidi, rejected a claim and said, “Maximum only 50 percent of Sindh the land is ready for cultivation. But growers do not have financial support for cultivating the wheat. Inundated land makes it difficult to cultivate. The claim made by international origination does not represent the brutal realities of the province. It means Sindh will not be able to produce wheat crops, leading to food shortages.”
Ali Raza Channar, Technical Director at the provincial government’s Agriculture Extension Sindh department says that 80 percent of flood-rain water is receded. Nevertheless, the fact cannot be denied that the province will suffer and hardly produce a good amount of wheat.
Ali Raza Channar, Technical Director at the provincial government’s Agriculture Extension Sindh Department says that 80 percent of flood-rain water is receded. Nevertheless, the fact cannot be denied that the province will suffer and hardly produce a good amount of wheat.
No cultivation means a rise in unemployment. Time is tougher for farming women who are shouldering the heavy burden of farming amidst climate change. Iqbal said that even wheat seeds did not germinate, and many farmers don’t want to experiment and waste money on sowing.
Sindh government should hold talks with small growers
The provincial government decided in the cabinet to give Rs 5,000 per acre to farmers for purchasing wheat seeds and ensure procurement of 30 percent of their crop.
Haneef Soomro, an affected farmer questions the Sindh government’s capacities and intentions. “Five thousand rupees is a small amount for the grower who already lost everything. It is a cruel joke on farmers,” he added.
He said that winter is at the doorstep and cultivation season is running out. It is high time that government holds talk with small farmers to find the way out, he said.
Climate change experience
Ali Nawaz said climate change had affected the agricultural economy and its loss of 421,238.30 Million. In the present situation minimum of 80 percent of crops can be cultivated.
When asked about the financial crisis of small growers – he responded that hard realities are reality as crops are damaged due to floods. Climate change has caused unprecedented heavy rains, and earlier heatwaves added trouble to agriculture. “Sindh government is thinking about crop insurance against the backdrop of climate change crisis,” he says.
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