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KARACHI: Vice President of Pakistan Businesses Forum (PBF) Ahmad Jawad said that country’s agricultural sector is in turmoil.

The cotton crop and vegetables are completely wiped out in many key areas. Wild weather just can’t give us a break. First the heatwave, now the floods.

He said we have one month. If water is not discharged in that period, there will be no wheat sowing in the Sindh province which would a big hit for food security issues of the country.

“Every delay in providing the affected communities with access to agricultural production inputs and livestock protection services means that more households will lose their livelihoods and enter a vicious cycle of food insecurity and dependency on food aid.”

Similarly in addition to the loss of lives, homes, and livelihoods due to the floods in Pakistan, the unprecedented monsoon rainfall has also damaged crops on over 1 million hectares of land including the province of Balochistan, where 13,000 organic and in-conversion cotton farms are located.

Jawad said these crops so valuable to local communities are now submerged in floodwater which in addition to the overall national disaster, also comes as a huge setback for the work of the Organic Cotton Accelerator in Pakistan, which this year aimed to adapt its farm programme for specific regional needs to lay the groundwork for growth in the field of organic agriculture and cotton trade.

Now six to seven million bales will have to be imported to support our textile sector.

However according to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification analysis (July 2022), of the 1.9 million people who are in need of food security and agricultural assistance in the impacted districts, nearly 510 000 people are only one step away from catastrophic levels of food insecurity.

The numbers are projected to rise further as the impacts of the disaster continue to force vulnerable households to deplete their productive assets in order to secure their most immediate needs.

The Rabi planting season (October–December) that accounts for 57 percent of national cereal production is fast approaching and the window of opportunity to support Pakistani farmers and their communities is narrowly time-bound.

He further viewed Pakistan could face a wheat shortage in the coming day due to devastating floods and the wheat import will increase the financial burden on the foreign reserves and next year Pakistan is continuing import wheat as 2023 likely to be a wheat shortage year for Pakistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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