KARACHI: Hundreds of fish farms worth tens of millions of rupees have been damaged by the recent flooding in Sindh, fishermen told The News.
Muhammad Umer Mallah, a fisherman of Badin, said that around 30 percent land of Badin district was used for fish farming. “All farms have been damaged in rains and flooding.”
The rains hit 21 districts of Sindh, but nine of them were highly affected: Badin, Mirpurkhas, Tharparkar, Tando Muhammad Khan, Tando Allahyar, Matiari, Umerkot, Sanghar and Benazirabad.
He said the largest damage was caused in Tando Bago, where hundreds of farms suffered losses. Each farm was based on 50 to 200 acres. “Due to unavailability of proper survey, the exact loss cannot be calculated,” he said.
Mustafa Mirani, vice president Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF), said that natural sweet water lakes of Thatta and Badin had either dried or converted to saline water under sea intrusion. There were hundreds of private fish farms, whose fish were washed away in rains and floods, he said.
A small farm of 2 acres contained nearly 3,000 seeds of fish, which were available for Rs5 to Rs7. This seed becomes mature fish after one and half years of feeding and labour care. Fish are sold when their weight reaches 1 or 2 kilogram worth Rs250 to Rs500. Thus loss to the owner of such a small farm is around Rs1.5 million.
Mirani said that fishermen were workers at these farms, which were owned by land lords and investors. “Fishermen have suffered loss of their jobs,” he said.
Besides the loss caused to the fisheries sector, the province lost Rs271 billion worth of crops. Around three million cattle have been displaced, of which around 200,000 animals have died.
Syed Mehmood Nawaz Shah, General Secretary Sindh Abadgar Board, told The News that more than 8 million people of 1.5 million families were displaced by rains, which owned nearly three million cattle.
He said the animals that had survived were facing abortion and diseases, but no scheme was announced for these displaced cattle and their owners.
He said targets of cotton, sugarcane, paddy, onions and tomatoes would be missed. Cotton suffered a loss of 65 percent output, sugarcane and paddy 34 percent each, and tomatoes and onions suffered 95 percent damage. Professor Muhammad Ismail Kumbhar, Sindh Agriculture University of Tandojam, said the government said 91,000 cattle had died till September 20, but the number was about 200,000 according to independent estimates. He appealed to the government departments to take initiatives for vaccination of cattle.
Livestock is also dying of starvation as fodder has been washed away. Poultry farms have also suffered losses of millions of rupees.