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Floods caused damages worth Rs 250 billion: agriculture experts




  • The recent flooding in the country has caused an estimated loss of around Rs 250 billion to infrastructure, public and private property, agriculture and livestock in all provinces. Discussions with agricultural experts and government officials showed that crops sown nearly 2 million acres had been destroyed or damaged in all four provinces along with Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, with South Punjab and upper Sindh appearing to be the worst-hit areas. 

    Agriculture experts argued that the current rain spell, which started in September, also resulted in deaths of 369 people. They said that so far the floods destroyed two million bales of cotton, two million tons of Irri-6 rice, 70 percent of sunflower, 50 percent onions, 50 percent tomatoes, 40 percent green chilies along with other crops. 

    Dera Ghazi Khan, Multan, Muzafargarh, Layyah, Rajanpur, Rahim Yar Khan and other cotton growing districts in Punjab were badly hit by the recent rains. In Sindh, rains severely hit Mirpurkhas, Badin, Tando Muhammad Khan, Umarkot, Dadu, Ghotki, Hyderabad, Jacobabad, Jamshoro, Khairpur, Larkana, Matiyari, Sanghar, Tharparkar, Thatta and Sanghar districts. 

    According to a senior official of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), as many as 12,559 cattle heads perished in the floods and over 600,000 people were forced to take shelter in relief camps. The floods in 2010 had damaged crops and other infrastructure amounting to over Rs 800 billion, while floods in 2011 caused an estimated loss of Rs 600 billion to the national economy, he added. 

    Talking to Business Recorder former Agriculture Development Commissioner Pakistan Inayatullah Khan said that floods had severely damaged cotton and Irri-6 paddy crops in South Punjab and Sindh. After floods, prices of some vegetables registered a significance increase, onions and tomato prices jumped to Rs 70 per kg from Rs 35-45 per kg, cucumber from Rs 30 per kg to Rs 70 per kg while some vegetables were entirely unavailable in the market. 

    Mohammed Tariq of Kisan Ittehad Pakistan said the current destruction to the agriculture sector could have been averted if the federal as well as provincial governments had built water reservoirs and repaired the damaged drainage system. According to him, provincial and federal governments had not learnt any lessons from the destruction of 2010 and 2011 floods. He said that the average annual cultivation cost stands at Rs 60,000 per acre and floods have affected a total of 2 million acres of land and total loss to agriculture and livestock stands at around Rs 250 billion. 

    He said that Sindh produced around 3 million tons of Irri-6 rice and floods damaged the crop, adding that rice production in the province might decline to two million tons against the target of three million tons. He said that the domestic cotton production would decline to 13-13.5 million bales against the target of 15 million bales in the current year. 

    Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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