Rains cause Rs23 billion loss to crops in Sindh

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KARACHI: Recent rains in southern Sindh have resulted in loss of more than Rs23 billion to major Kharif crops and vegetables, a growers’ body has estimated.

Rains hit Badin, Golarchi, Tando Bago, Matli, Tando Muhammad Khan district, Tando Allahyar district, Tando Ghulam Ali, Mirpurkhas, Mithi, Hyderabad and some parts of Matiari district.

Some areas received more than 300ml rainfall, which damaged the irrigation and transport infrastructure.

The rain-hit areas grow paddy on 900,000 acres, cotton on 200,000 acres and sugarcane on 150,000 acres.

Besides, these areas grow onions and tomatoes at 80,000 acres and fodder at 15,000 acres.

President Sindh Abadgar Board Abdul Majeed Nizamani told The News that he surveyed the affected areas and received reports that more than 200,000 acres of paddy was lost along with 80,000 acres of cotton. All 80,000 acres of onions and tomatoes was washed away in rains along with 15,000 acres of fodder.

He said that cost of cotton was Rs75,000 per acre, paddy Rs60,000 per acre, onions and tomatoes Rs60,000 per acre and fodder Rs35,000 per acre.

“Only sugarcane has survived, but that would also lose weight,” he said.

Cotton crop suffered a loss of Rs6 billion, paddy Rs12 billion, fodder Rs525 million and onions and tomatoes Rs4.8 billion.

Weather forecast shows rainfall in Sindh for the next two days. Nizamani said if situation does not improve, there will be more loss to the crops.

He said although it was a natural calamity but breaches to irrigation canals had increased the intensity of loss and that the irrigation department was not doing anything concrete.

Nizamani said crops were lost and now it was time to provide quick relief to the affected people of these areas, who were waiting in camps.

There is need for aerial survey and relief work on urgent basis, he said.

Some areas on the left side of Guddu barrage including Ghotki are sowing paddy, as there has been no action against the seed growing.

Ghotki is a banned area for paddy. In 2009, paddy remained out of fields and cotton recorded a bumper crop. Water-logging, a result of paddy cultivation, affected mango and date orchards of the district.

Paddy cultivation is illegal on the left bank of Guddu and Sukkur barrages. “In order to cultivate paddy crop, growers have to seek permission from some departments including agriculture, irrigation and road transport,” said one grower.

In 2006, Ghotki cultivated around 110,000 acres with cotton, producing around 0.5 million bales. But in 2008, cultivation declined by nearly 10,000 acres and 50,000 bales, as paddy occupied more land.

Since paddy cultivation is illegal in the district, official data is not reliable, yet the data of the Sindh Agriculture Department shows more than 8,500 acres in Ghotki were sown with paddy in 2008.

Nizamani said ecological change pushed for an increase in cultivation of paddy in the cotton belt, which was not good for Sindh. “Cotton must be cultivated because of shortage of water in Sindh.”

source:  thenews.com.pk

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