FLOOD'S IMPACT ON CROPS
S.KAMAL HAYDER KAZMI,
Research Analyst, PAGE
Sep 12 - 18, 2011
The floods have hit the whole Pakistan's agriculture, food and various crops. These devastating floods and widespread monsoon rains have cast a negative impact on crops and affected the yields of cotton, chilli, banana and tomato in Mirpur Khas, Tharparker, Sanghar, Badin and Hyderabad in Sindh. Heavier monsoon rains are predicted by Pakistan meteorological department (PMD) in these areas during the current week which may cause field floods in lower Sindh and result in more damages.
Cotton is the major crop of the country and has been worst hit by monsoon rains this year as heavy thundershowers continued in the cotton belt areas this month.
The floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains in Sindh have caused an estimated loss of $7 billion to the agrarian economy of the country as over 2.5 million bales of cotton, 2 million tons of Irri-6 rice, 4 million tons of sugarcane and many other small crops have been destroyed besides, killing 0.1 million cattle head in the province.
Agriculture growth and exports targets for the current fiscal year are feared to be missed in the wake of floods in Sindh that damaged 80 per cent cotton and other crops on 1.7 million acres agricultural land, forcing the federal government to launch national appeal to cope with massive devastation in the province.
In other parts of the province, pests brought about by the humid weather can also damage the cotton crop. The chilli crop, which is water sensitive, has been totally damaged in interior Sindh due to heavy rains as rain water is stagnant in fields and damaging roots of the crop. Although banana is a water guzzling crop, heavy rains and stagnant water in the fields have also affected it. The tomato crops were also at their initial stage and were destroyed due to prolonged monsoon rains.
Nevertheless, these rains were good for the rice crop. The vegetable prices in the market are likely to shoot. In every season, crops from Sindh reach the markets earlier than those from Punjab.
Nearly 17 million acres of cultivated cropland were lost to floods last year while the loss of livestock could also be in millions.
The loss of crops from floods alone can cause huge spikes in the price of necessary food items because of uncertainty in the supply of grains, livestock, etc.
At the same time, almost 75 per cent of those affected by floods are those who rely on agriculture for survival. Even after the flood water recede, it will take months, if not more, to resettle the internally displaced farm workers on the land they once tilled, thus causing further delays in domestic food production.
During July 2010, the floods destroyed two major crops, i.e. rice and cotton. As reported by Suparco, an area of 2.364 million hectares under Kharif crops 2010 was damaged.
During 2010-11, the overall performance of agriculture sector exhibited a weaker growth mainly due to negative growth of major crops and forestry. Against the growth target of 3.8 per cent, agriculture is estimated to grow by 1.2 per cent.
Major crops, accounting for 31.1 per cent of agricultural value added, registered a negative growth of four per cent for second year in a row mainly because of decrease in production of rice and cotton by 29.9 and 11.3 per cent, respectively.
Minor crops accounting for 10.9 per cent of overall agriculture value addition, grew by 4.8 per cent as against negative growth of last two years.
The livestock sector having 55.1 per cent stake in the agriculture sector was also impacted by the massive floods and witnessed marked slowdown recording growth at 3.7 per cent in 2010-11 as against 4.3 per cent last year.
The sector is immune from weather related problems and thus offers prospects for consistent growth. Fishery sector grew by 1.9 per cent as against last year's growth of 1.4 percent. Forestry has experienced negative growth of 0.4 per cent this year as compared to last year's positive growth of 2.2 per cent.
Due to increasing demand of credit due to recent unprecedented floods and torrential rains, the agricultural credit advisor committee (ACAC) allocated agriculture credit disbursement target of Rs270 billion for 2010-11 as compared to Rs260 billion fixed for last year. Out of the total target, Rs181.3 billion was allocated to commercial banks, Rs81.8 billion to ZTBL and Rs6.9 billion to Punjab provincial cooperative bank (PPCBL).
During July-March, 2010-11, the specialized bank for agriculture credit Zarai Taraqiati bank Ltd (ZTBL) disbursed Rs37.4 billion as compared to Rs49 billion during the same period of last year.
This decline in disbursement is mainly due to the recent devastating floods in the country which badly affected the cultivable land. The bank served 295,941 borrowers as compared to 362,050 borrowers during corresponding period of last year.
PRODUCTION OF IMPORTANT CROPS ('000 TONS)
|FY||WHEAT||RICE||BAJRA||JOW||MAIZE||BAR||FOOD GRAINS||GRAM||SUGAR||R&M||SES||COTTON ('000 BALES)||TOB|
|BAJ: BAJRA, JOW: JOWAR, BAR: BARLEY, SUGAR: SUGARCANE, R&M: RAPESEED &MUSTARD, SES: SESAMUM, TOB: TOBACCO,|