Interest-free loans for flood-hit farmers sought

Published September 9, 2022
<p>Policemen inspect a flooded area after heavy monsoon rains in Sehwan of Jamshoro district, Sindh province on September 8. — AFP</p>

Policemen inspect a flooded area after heavy monsoon rains in Sehwan of Jamshoro district, Sindh province on September 8. — AFP

LAHORE: Recent floods and torrential rains have damaged paddy crop, particularly in Sindh and south Punjab districts, and estimates suggest the overall crop losses of up to 10 per cent

Pakistan Hi-Tech Hybrid Seed Association (PHHSA) chairman Shahzad Ali Malik quotes the World Food Organisation as estimating the yield losses between 200,000 to 300,000 tonnes and that the losses will be reflected in the exports. “WFO preliminary reports say the country may lose at least one-tenth of its rice output to floods.”

He says in a press release that local farmer associations as well as a Singapore-based trading company suggest the losses to be around 200,000 tonnes.

He says that 35pc of the standing rice crop was damaged in Sindh and 29pc in south Punjab while other rice growing areas were partially hit by excessive heat waves which affected the yields.

Fearing that it will be difficult to meet the rice export target this year, he demands the government to provide interest-free loans to all flood-hit farmers across the country, besides the provision of all agricultural inputs at highly subsidised rates.

He says the PHHSA is taking stock of the situation and will take up matters with the government after receiving final reports of losses. Hamid Malik, a consultant in the rice trade, however, puts the yield losses at around 1.1 million tonnes.

According to him, at least 0.86m acres of paddy fields were submerged under flood waters and reducing the yield by around 1.155mt worth Rs91 billion.

He puts the break-up of the losses as 220,000 acres and 310,000 tonnes in Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur districts in Punjab; 280,000 acres and 310,000t in Dera Bugti, Naseerabad and Jaffarabad districts of Balochistan; 310,000 acres and 560,000t in Thatta, Badin, Kashmore, Shikarpur, Larkana, Shahdad Kot, KN Shah, Dadu, Ghotki, Khairpur and Sanghar districts of Sindh, while 150,000 acres and 175,000t in Swat and DI Khan districts of KP.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2022

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