Pakistan’s cash crop suffered billions of rupees’ worth of losses caused by flood devastation, particularly in Sindh and South Punjab, said Shahzad Ali Malik, Chairman of the Pakistan Hi-Tech Hybrid Seed Association (PHHSA).
Quoting figures acquired from the United Nations World Food Organisation (WFO) he said, “We are estimating around 200,000 to 300,000 tons of rice lost in these floods which will be reflected in Pakistan’s exports.”
“Pakistan is slogging through one of the most devastating disasters in the country’s history on account of floods that left a third of land under water,” lamented the PHHSA chairman.
Explaining that the country’s agriculture sector remained the most affected, he said, “35% of the standing rice crop was damaged in Sindh and 29% in South Punjab, while other rice growing areas were also partially hit by excessive heat waves which affected the yields.”
“The deadly floods destroyed vast hectares of cotton and rice crops, a key source of employment and forex for the nation,” he highlighted.
Quoting preliminary reports from WFO, he said “Pakistan could lose at least a tenth of rice output to floods.”
Pakistan, the world’s fourth largest rice exporter, suffered extensive damage to agriculture, the mainstay of its economy, as floods ravaged large swathes of its farmland, he bemoaned.
According to Malik, Pakistan is forecasted to have lost 10% of its 2022 estimated rice production of around 8.7 million tons, making it difficult to achieve the rice exports target.
He demanded the government provide interest-free loans to all flood-hit farmers across the country as a top priority, besides provision of all agricultural inputs, at a highly subsidised rate which includes fuel, seed, fertiliser and electricity to afford some solace to this aggrieved section of society.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 9th, 2022.
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