Pakistan Agriculture News, Water

‘Agriculture sector has endured billions in losses due to water shortage’

Sindh’s agriculture sector has endured losses in the billions because of lesser yields this year as the province received a lesser share of irrigation water from the Centre, said Minister for Agriculture Ismail Rahu.

In a press statement issued on Sunday, Rahu said the yield of different important crops had decreased this year owing to the lesser availability of river water to the province for cultivation.

He said that crops’ yield had “significantly declined” in areas of Hyderabad, Matiari, Tando Mohammad Khan, Badin and Thatta as compared to the province’s agricultural output last year.

Acute shortage of river water was the main reason why cultivation of different important cash crops didn’t meet the target of yield set for the current year, said Rahu. He accused the present federal government of having no regard for the country’s agriculture sector as there was no federal policy in place to protect the legitimate interests of Sindh’s farmers.

The agriculture minister maintained that the release of less river water from the Centre to the province was part of the ongoing unjust policy of the federal government to trample on the rights of Sindh’s residents.

He quoted reports compiled by the provincial agriculture department, according to which the yield of cotton had decreased by 28 per cent, while the outputs of sugarcane and paddy both had dropped by 17 per cent as compared to the agriculture output of Sindh last year.

Rahu said the yield of rice crop in the province could reach up to the area of 67,910 hectares; the cotton yield in the province this year was on an area of 49,567 hectares decreasing from 64,500 hectares last year. In District Sanghar alone, the sugarcane crop yield last year was on 17,342 hectares area and this year, it has decreased to 12,536 hectares. Similarly, in Larkana, the sugarcane output was on 714 hectares last year, which has reduced to 654 hectares this year. In Khairpur, the sugarcane crop yield last year was on 22,762 hectares reducing to 20,381 hectares this year. In Dadu, the same yield last year was on 11,060 hectares and it had reduced to 8,641 hectares this year. In Shaheed Benazirabad, the yield of the cotton crop last year was on 64,500 hectares and this year it has reduced to 49,567 hectares.

The agriculture minister urged the Centre to release the due water share of the province for agriculture and adopt policies which would protect the economic interests of farmers.