The current floods have caused massive devastation on arable and agricultural land, sending farmers back some 50 years. The damage caused to the crops and the lands in the aftermath of the floods is colossal. The practice of irrigation and agriculture has long been thriving at both sides of the Indus River. The very river that was a cause of all their flourishing became a means of destruction as swollen tributaries burst open its banks across many regions of Sindh.
Regions where villages were thriving are now covered in water which to the naked eye stretches all the way to the horizon. The decimation of open fields will have an adverse impact on the economy and might lead to severe food insecurity. This might also urge the government to increase import due to food shortages, denting foreign exchange reserves. We are already witnessing a significant surge in food items, making it all the more difficult for common citizens to earn bread. Now, farmers and landlords have incurred losses in millions, and only time can tell if their lands will be able to cultivate with adequate yield. Many rich landlords have been able to divert flood water elsewhere, creating much greater chaos in the surrounding area, and many others will indeed ride out the flood. But the livelihoods of small-scale farmers have been completely destroyed. Entire families have been swept away and millions have been displaced. There is nothing left, they say.
Disaster management authorities should have evacuated farmers at the earliest but officials seem to not care at all. The terrible ordeal should urge the provincial governments to chart out a recovery plan for small-scale farmers so that they are able to minimise losses and get back on their feet as soon as possible.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th, 2022.
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