SINDH AND AGRICULTURE
DR. S.M. ALAM & DR. M.A. KHAN
Oct 13 - 19, 2008
Agriculture in Sindh is continuing from ancient times. Excavation at Mohen-jo-Daro in Larkana district has revealed that some crops such as barley, wheat, pea, cotton and sesame were grown in this part before 3000 BC. Sindh with its fertile lands, fresh water resources, diverse climate and dynamic people could have done much batter in economic and social development fronts.
Sindh is the second largest province of Pakistan on the basis of population. With population of nearly 60 million, it represents 38% of the total population of the country. It ranks in area covering 140914 square kilometers (14.09 million hectares) or 18% of the country's geographical area. About 40% of the area of the Sindh comprises of arable land and 5% is rangeland. The total cultivated area of Sindh is 5.88 million hectares and the net area sown is 2,50 million hectares. The total cropped area is 3.10 million hectares.
The province of Sindh is situated along the lower banks of the river Indus, forming a major portion of the Great Indus Plain. The length of the Sindh from south to north is about 58 Km, and breadth is 275 to 440 km from east to west, narrow in north and broad at the base. It lies between 23-29 north latitude and 67-70 parallel east longitude. It is surrounded by land on upper side coastal strips of about 250 km in the southwest along the Arabia Sea. In the south, it borders with the Rann of Katch and the Katch state of India, the eastern boundary extends towards Rajhistan, India, while the Punjab and Balochistan lie to its north and west respectively.
The agricultural progress of Sindh province is totally linked with the supply of irrigation water from the river Indus. It comprises of three barrages i.e. Sukkur, Guddu and Kotri with gross area of about 6 million hectares. Arid zones of Sindh include Thar region (Tharparkar and Umerkot) and Nara region (Sanghar, Khairpue, Ghotki sand Sukkur) in the east and Katchho and Kohistan regions (Dadu and Thatta) in the west.
The overall climate of Sindh province is arid with scarce monsoon rains sometimes in July and August. The irrigation water is the only source for cultivation of crops. May and June are the hottest months above (45oC), with very rear frost in some parts of winter months. The province of Sindh grows a variety of field and horticultural crops. Wheat, rice, cotton, sugarcane are the major field crops, which constitute nearly 75% of the total cropped areas, while mango, banana and chilies are the major horticultural crops. Sindh produces 33% paddy, 28% sugarcane, 25% cotton and 14% wheat of the country. Some of the important wheat varieties evolved and grown in Sindh are Soghat, Sarsabz, Marvi, Khirman, Bhattai, Kiran, TJ-83, ZA-77, H-68 etc. Rice varieties are Shua-92, Sarshar, and Shadab. Cotton and sugarcane are Chandi and NIA-98 etc.
Sindh produces 80% banana, 34% mangoes, dates 45%, guava 50% and 88% of chilies grown in the country. The other crops and fruits grown in Sindh are bajra, millet, jowar, ginger, onion, garlic, coriander, linseed, spinach, falsa, chikko, watermelon, kakri cucumber, etc. Of the total cropped areas of 3.06 million hectares for the year 2006-07, almost 50% of the area was under food crops i.e. wheat, rice maize and sorghum, millet and barley, 27% cash crops such as sugarcane and cotton and remaining were under fodder, pulses, condiments, oilseeds, fruits and vegetables. Different types of fodders such as berseem, lucerne, dhancha etc. are also grown in various locality of the province for the animals.
Sindh has prominent place in the production of livestock, fishery and poultry. The livestock found in Sindh are cow, calf, bull, heifer, buffalo, goat, sheep, horse, mule ass etc. In poultry chicken meat and eggs are produced in sufficient amount for the population of Sindh province. Fishery is another important produce of Sindh .The province of Sindh has a coastal belt of about 350 kilometers. Different types of fish are caught in the coastal and inland water; total annual production is about 300,000 tons from both sources.