ISLAMABAD: Emergency agricultural support and immediate donor funding has become a necessity in Sindh where farmers are said to have missed the wheat sowing season, according to officials of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
With vast devastation of land and crops due to floods, the UN agricultural cluster is trying to deal with multiple challenges faced by all provinces and bridge major gaps, including maximisation of winter crop output, preparing for spring planting and scaling-up irrigation repairs.
According to FAO officials, alternative crops are being identified for areas where farmers missed the crop sowing season, adding that planting of crops like vegetables and sunflower can be extended throughout the Rabi season.
Although completion of distribution of certified wheat and vegetable seed and fertiliser for the Rabi season benefited thousands of vulnerable farming families in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan, FAO officials said that irrigation was of paramount importance to ensure crop survival during the Rabi season and indispensible for Kharif crops, especially rice.
Work on the rehabilitation and reconstruction of damaged water courses will start early next year.
The UN agency is also undertaking other activities like the livestock support package during the winter season, besides distributing de-wormer tablets and compound feed to thousands of livestock owners in flood-hit areas by mid-
Published in The Express Tribune, December 25th, 2010.