Monsoon rains damage 10-15% of cotton, onion crops in Sindh
KARACHI: A three-day spell of monsoon has slightly impacted the standing Kharif crops in parts of Sindh, but agriculturalists warn if the downpour does not stop, it will badly harm the ready-to-pick crops and inflict financial losses on farmers.
“Wednesday’s widespread rains in agricultural fields have damaged 10-15% of cotton crop and up to 10% of onion crop. If the downpour persists, it will badly impact the standing crops,” Sindh Abadgar Board Vice President Syed Mehmood Nawaz Shah said while talking to The Express Tribune on Friday.
The province produces 24% of the total agriculture produce of Pakistan. Its share in agriculture stands close to 20% in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) of over $300 billion, according to the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2016-17.
Shah said Sindh produced 20% of cotton in the total production of around 14 to 15 million bales. Similarly, it produces 55% of onion in a year.
Other Kharif crops of Sindh include paddy (raw rice), sugarcane and banana. They are initially rain-resilient crops, which are currently at different stages of cultivation and harvest.
“Accumulation of rainwater beyond a certain level and a few days may harm these crops as well,” Shah added.
Sindh produced 50% of paddy, 30% of sugarcane and 85% of banana, he said.
Talking about the impact on price levels, Shah said, “The 10-15% damage to the cotton and onion crops may not trigger price hike in the country. A disaster-like situation in the fields may trigger inflation, which is not the case at present.”
The Met office has forecast no more rains in the province while the current monsoon season is nearing its end on September 15.
Shah said Sindh cultivated onion over 200,000 to 250,000 acres of land in different districts and divisions including Hyderabad, Tando Allahyar, Matiari, Mirpurkhas, Nawabshah and Tando Muhammad Khan.
“The standing crop is about 80% of what is produced in Sindh. In the near future, the rest of the 20% will also be planted.”
The cotton crop is at multiple stages of cultivation and harvest in different parts of the province, which sows the crop on a big scale.
Farmers were engaged in the first picking of cotton in some parts while its flowers had appeared in other parts for second picking, he said.
Major areas where cotton is cultivated include Khairpur, Ghotki, Jacobabad, Sanghar, Mirpurkhas, Tando Allahyar, Matiari and Tando Muhammad Khan.