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July 21, 2021

Rains prove boon for some crops, bane for others

KARACHI: Recent rains may have benefited other crops but have partially damaged date palm crop by the time of harvest, growers said on Tuesday.

“Recent rains were good for vegetables crops and others including cotton, paddy and sugarcane,” said Mehmood Nawaz Shah, senior vice president Sindh Abadgar Board, talking to The News.

He said the province was facing acute irrigation water shortage and water level was down in the Indus River till last week. “This monsoon spell has somewhat offset the water shortage,” Shah added

He said although the price of cotton was affected by a few hundred rupees per maund, the plants had gained from the froms. “Leaves were cleaned in rain, which also removed the pests,” he said adding, “Overall, the rains proved a boon for cotton”.

Shah said climate change had affected agriculture, as monsoon rains, which historically started after mid of July, had shifted to August and September. “Due to shifts in time and an increase in the intensity, they are affecting agriculture wherever they fall,” he said.

Paddy cultivation was delayed in several areas because of unavailability of water, but rains came as a blessing for them. On the other hand, Sindh Minister for Agriculture, Muhammad Ismail Rahu, said the rains had not damaged the crops anywhere in Sindh.

“The Federal government and the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) had tried their best to damage crops in Sindh by stopping the water but the Almighty blessed the agriculture with rain,” he said.

He said growers in the coastal belt of the province were the most benefited. “Had there been no rain cotton, sugarcane, and paddy along with vegetables crops would have suffered,” he said.

Rahoo said the federal government was taking political revenge from the people of Sindh. “Due to unavailability of water, lands of farmers in Sindh had become barren that were already facing financial hardships.”

He said the land had dried prior to rain, adding, due to stoppage of water by IRSA, Sindh was facing a drought like situation. Rahoo also blamed IRSA for diverting Balochistan’s water to Punjab.

He said IRSA had again allowed Punjab to open Taunsa and Panjnad canals that should be closed and Sindh be provided its share of water. Although crops were benefiting from rain, some damages were done to date palms in upper Sindh.

Nisar Khaskheli, President Date Palm Growers Association Khairpur, said date palm were ready for the harvest when monsoon rains arrived and they suffered partial losses. “Further rains can dent the hopes and economy of date palm growers,” he said.