Pakistan Agriculture: Record Harvests Forecast After Heavy Monsoon Rains

In the first few months of 2022,  Pakistan has exported more rice to China than Vietnam, the historic top supplier, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Pakistan's total rice exports are forecast to jump by 450,000 tons to 4.8 million tons, almost 30% higher than the prior year. 

Women Farmers Planting Rice in Pakistan. Source: Reuters


Pakistan experienced broad-based economic growth across all key sectors in FY 21-22; manufacturing posted 9.8% growth, services 6.2% and agriculture 4.4%. The 4.4% growth in agriculture is particularly welcome; it helps reduce rural poverty.  The country is expected to have yet another record year for agriculture in 2022-23 after heavy monsoon rains. Rice is an important food crop in Pakistan  but wheat is the principal grain consumed domestically. Unfortunately, the same hot and dry planting conditions that delayed planting of the 2022 rice crop in Punjab and Sindh provinces have adversely affected Pakistan’s wheat production. This has forced the government to import wheat at a time of high prices amid the war in Ukraine, a major wheat exporter. 

A Cotton Field in Pakistan


The recent monsoon rains will help to kick-start the sowing of major Kharif (autumn) crops including rice, cotton, sugarcane and corn after about a month's delay.  “There was 40% less water available for the Kharif season (during May-June 2022),” an official of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research said while talking to The Express Tribune on Saturday. Earlier in March this year, Pakistan's Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) had said “for the Kharif year 2022, the water availability in canals head will be 65.84 million acre feet (MAF) against last year’s 65.08 MAF”. Recent rains have helped fill up major water reservoirs across the country.  About 150,000 cubic feet per second of water is being released from Pakistan's largest Tarbela dam which is more than the combined irrigation needs of the two provinces.  It is also generating over 3,000 MW of electricity, according to media reports

Heavy 2022 Monsoon Rainfall. Source: Pakistan Met Office 


“Cotton production is expected to improve to 9.5-10 million bales (one bale weighs 170 kg) in the wake of ongoing rainfall in cotton belts in Punjab and Sindh,” said Pakistan Central Cotton Committee Vice President Dr Muhammad Ali Talpur. “Cotton production will remain high, as farmers have improved crop management in the backdrop of higher prices in the domestic (and international) market.”

Drought Map of Pakistan. Source: Relief Web

Pakistan's agriculture output is the 10th largest in the world. The country produces large and growing quantities of cereals, meat, milk, fruits and vegetables. Currently, Pakistan produces about 38 million tons of cereals (mainly wheat, rice and corn), 17 million tons of fruits and vegetables, 70 million tons of sugarcane, 60 million tons of milk and 4.5 million tons of meat.  Total value of the nation's agricultural output exceeds $50 billion.  Improving agriculture inputs and modernizing value chains can help the farm sector become much more productive to serve both domestic and export markets.  

Pakistan's Thar Desert After Monsoon 2022. Source: Emmanuel Guddu 

Pakistanis are eating more and healthier foods, according to the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2021-22. Per capita average daily calorie intake in Pakistan has jumped to 2,735 calories in FY 2021-22 from 2,457 calories in 2019-20. The biggest contributor to it is the per capita consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables which soared from 53.6 Kg to 68.3 Kg, less than half of the 144 Kg (400 grams/day) recommended by the World Health Organization. Healthy food helps cut disease burdens and reduces demand on the healthcare system. Under former Prime Minister Imran Khan's leadership, Pakistan succeeded in achieving these nutritional improvements in spite of surging global food prices amid the Covid19 pandemic

Investments in modernization of the agriculture production process and farm-to-market value chain will require major reforms to ensure growers get a bigger share of the value. The extraordinary power of the middlemen (arthis) as financiers needs to be regulated. This can not happen without legislation in close consultation with the growers. Improving agriculture inputs and modernizing value chains can help raise the productivity of the farm sector for it to serve both domestic and export markets better.  

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Comments

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan buying 250,000-300,000 tons of #French #wheat. A severe #drought in Pakistan & the impact of higher #fertilizer prices have led the country to make large purchases on world market where supplies have tightened amid #UkraineWar. #food #agriculture https://www.agriculture.com/markets/newswire/grains-soybeans-corn-hit-week-highs-on-us-crop-woes

Traders purchased between 250,000 and 300,000 tonnes of French wheat aimed for Pakistan as part of a tender last week, European traders said on Tuesday, in a further sign that importing countries are turning to western Europe to fill a gap left by missing Black Sea grain.

A severe drought in Pakistan and the impact of higher fertilizer prices have led the country to make large purchases on the world market where supplies have tightened since Russia's invasion of Ukraine. China had also made hefty wheat purchases last week. Traders said purchases included around 1 million tonnes of Australian wheat, both for animal feed and flour milling, and about 350,000-400,000 tonnes of French wheat.

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Chicago soybeans futures hit a two-week high while corn hit a one-week high on Wednesday as renewed concerns over hot and dry weather in parts of the U.S. Midwest continued to support the market. Wheat extended gains on growing doubts that an agreement to reopen maritime grain exports out of Ukraine would be implemented soon.

The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) rose 0.6% to $6.04-1/2 a bushel, as of 1141 GMT, after climbing earlier in the session to its highest since July 19 at $6.05-1/2 bushel. Soybeans rose 1% to $13.97-1/4 a bushel after hitting $14.02 a bushel, the highest since July 12, and wheat gained 1.3% to $8.14 a bushel

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's weekly condition ratings for corn, soybeans and spring wheat on Monday fell more than most analysts expected, while upcoming forecasts call for more sweltering heat across the U.S. Midwest and Plains.

Strong international wheat demand and uncertainty about Ukrainian grain exports was underpinning wheat prices. A Turkish official said the first Ukraine grain exports were likely this week under a deal signed by Russia and Ukraine on Friday and brokered by Ankara and the United Nations. However, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister said on Wednesday the deal could collapse if obstacles to Russia's agricultural exports were not promptly removed, Interfax reported.

Riaz Haq said…
#Monsoon rains in #Tharparkar in #Sindh, #Pakistan have created vast green pastures to help the local #economy that depends on livestock. Water ponds in the desert are filled to capacity, bringing a sigh a relief for the #drought-stricken population https://www.brecorder.com/news/40188619/2nd-half-of-monsoon-season-likely-to-produce-less-rainfall

The second half of the monsoon season is likely to fetch less rains compared with the first half, said sources from Pakistan Meteorological Department.

The monsoon season starts from early July and continues until 15th of September in Pakistan every year. The PMD sources said about five to six hundred times more rains have been witnessed during the last 26 days, and there was virtually everyday rain in the country since July.

They said the ongoing spell of heavy rains is likely to continue until the first week of August, followed by a long interval in rains any further. However, they added in the same breath, the actual forecast would be issued by early August.

It may be noted that the areas within the country known for less rains have received heavy spells during the current monsoon season. Right from the South of Punjab to the upper Sindh, there was heavy rain for almost the whole of the month.

The PMD sources said heavy rains have wreaked havoc with the date orchards in Sindh as the crop was at the ripening stage and the farmers found themselves into a troublesome situation so far storage of the crop is concerned.

Traditionally, they said, the province of Sindh used to receive monsoon rains during the later part of the season, which got reversed this year and thus causing damage to the date crop. They said farmers in Sindh were busy in drying up dates nowadays before dispatching them to market.

However, rains are proved healthier to the rest of the seasonal crops including cotton, maize, rice, and sugarcane in the country. Also, they said sufficient rains in Tharparkar have led to mushroom growth of green pastures in the area, beneficial to the local economy. Besides, the water ponds are covered up to their storage capacity in the deserted areas, brining a sigh a relief to the local population.

According to the sources, the cotton crop has also faced less damage due to the fact that most of the plants were yet at the maturity stage. Chances of damage were high in case rains approach to the cotton growing areas in the second half of the season.

However, they feared various leaf relating diseases due to the high level of moisture in the air ahead. Same is true for the rice crop that was facing huge damage over the past few years due to traditional heavy rains during the second half of the monsoon season. So far as Balochistan is concerned, the sources said small dams have been overflowed due to heavy downpours, causing damage to the localities due to flashfloods.

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan, China aim to boost tech cooperation
Ink Letter of Intent to create world-class technology ecosystem

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2369046/pakistan-china-aim-to-boost-tech-cooperation


Shenyang Economic and Technological Development Area (Seda) of China and the Special Technology Zones Authority (STZA) of Pakistan have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to boost cooperation in technology sector between the two organisations.

Established in 1988, Seda is a production hub of major biotech and automobile organisations including the BMW Group, Neusoft, Pfizer, NCR and Ikea.

Speaking to a virtual ceremony, Seda’s Director of Management Committee Zhao Yongsheng highlighted the company’s successes, according to a press release issued on Monday.

Seda hosts the largest manufacturing facility of BMW in the world, while 84 Fortune 500 companies from all over the globe are operating in Seda’s hi-tech manufacturing, automotive, research and development areas.

Zhao hailed the strong relationship between China and Pakistan and pledged his organisation’s support and cooperation with the STZA in the areas of innovation, entrepreneurship, human capital development and digital economy through the integration of science, technology and economy.

Speaking on the occasion, STZA Chairman Amer Hashmi stated that due to its rapid growth, Pakistan’s technology sector offered globally competitive opportunities for Chinese partners and investors.

He highlighted that Pakistan had a unique demographic advantage, as almost 64% of its population consisted of youth, and saw great potential in working with Seda through the STZA’s dedicated China Desk to streamline cooperation with the Chinese technology sector.

He praised Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Moinul Haque and the leadership of Seda for enabling cooperation between the STZA and Seda and expressed his support for implementing the shared vision.

Shenyang Municipal People’s Republic Vice Mayor Gao Wei stated that China and Pakistan were strategic partners, with a long history of peaceful cooperation in various development sectors.

He explained that Shenyang was creating hubs for scientific, industrial and technological growth, with special focus on fintech.

He vowed to support cooperation between Seda and the STZA, saying that the technology sector represented a new avenue for potential cooperation between the two friendly nations.

Ambassador Haque highlighted the longstanding ties between the two countries and appreciated the STZA chairman and his team for their efforts to foster the knowledge economy in Pakistan.

He affirmed the commitment of Pakistan’s embassy in China to facilitating the ongoing engagements between the STZA and the technology ecosystem in China and called the LOI a step forward towards strengthening linkages and relationship between the two countries.

He hoped that both sides would increase their cooperation under a joint working group to practically implement the shared vision of creating a world-class technology ecosystem in Pakistan, creating jobs and empowering the youth through the technology-led economic transformation.

Riaz Haq said…
Maersk and SEED Ventures collaborate to improve agricultural exports from Pakistan
July 28, 2022
By Jack Donnelly

https://www.porttechnology.org/news/maersk-and-seed-ventures-collaborate-to-improve-agricultural-exports-from-pakistan/

Maersk Pakistan Private Limited (Maersk) and SEED Ventures have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to launch the Pakistan Agripreneurship Challenge (PAC).

PAC is an Agri-value chain intervention challenge that aims to improve the quality of Pakistan’s agricultural produce and explore new global markets for Pakistan’s agriculture exporters.

In 2020, Pakistan produced 5.6 million metric tons of vegetables, of which the resulting export produce amounted to $4.92 million. In contrast, the Netherlands producing 5.3 million metric tons of vegetables, could export $31 billion worth of produce.

The comparison, Maersk argues, showcases Pakistan is not meeting its export potential for vegetables.

Issues pertaining to storage, transport & distribution are significant roadblocks for the Agri sector, and Maersk claims it is evident that a holistic value chain intervention is required for the post-harvest category.

PAC is an agripreneurship challenge that calls upon Agri ventures, innovators, farmers and agriculture students to participate and develop innovative solutions to solve the post-harvest challenges in Pakistan for vegetable produce.

The shortlisted finalists from the challenge will be given the opportunity to realise their innovative agripreneurship solutions by Maersk and SEED.

The 20 July collaboration signed between SEED Ventures and Maersk aims to identify potential solutions to support Pakistan in meeting its export potential.

Hasan Faraz, Managing Director, Maersk Pakistan, commented: “At Maersk, our purpose is to improve life for all by integrating the world. We are delighted to partner with SEED Ventures and contribute to improving Pakistan’s agricultural sector.”
Riaz Haq said…
The (Pakistan) government is working on a policy that will not only reduce dependence on imported palm oil but also facilitate and support farmers to grow oilseed crops, Minister for National Food Security and Research, Tariq Bashir Cheema, said on Tuesday.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1698469

At a press conference, Mr Cheema said the government has decided to take short- to long-term policy measures for the uplift of the agriculture sector, focusing on encouraging the farming community to bring more area under cultivation with the ultimate objective of achieving self-sufficiency in all the major crops and reducing the country’s import bill for certain agricultural products.

The country is currently spending $4.5 billion annually on the import of palm oil, and it is expected that the import bill for this commodity will increase to $6bn next year.

The minister said spending $1bn on the import of three million tonnes of wheat and $6bn on importing palm oil in a year is a big loss of foreign exchange, which is a matter of grave concern.

“The present government has revised the procurement targets for the procurement of wheat by the Punjab government and Passco, which have been achieved. In the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war and the pressure built on the countries of the Central Asian Republic on their exports, the government has attained sufficient wheat stock to avoid the imposition of any emergency,” he added.

The minister said that the support price for wheat, being the important staple food crop, will be announced well ahead of the rabi season so that farmers will be able to have their own production estimates while keeping in view the market trends.

As far as cotton is concerned, Mr Cheema said that Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has already formed a special committee headed by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, to formulate a recommendation as to how to incentivise cotton growers so that the lost area under cotton cultivation should be revived.

The intervention price for cotton will be set keeping in view of the price in the international market so that cotton growers should not face any loss, he said.

As part of the long-term policy measure, the government has decided to solarise all the 1.2m tube wells that are run on electricity. Once solarised, the agricultural tube wells will be 100 per cent free of electricity.

The special committee has proposed that bank financing on easy instalments be offered to farmers, and in this regard, the government is currently negotiating with commercial banks, he said.

He said that all agricultural inputs have been made tax free, and while referring to the availability of tractors, he was of the view that farmers should get tractors from banks on lease financing, as in the case of leasing of vehicles. This will help eliminate the profit of middlemen.

The minister said that Pakistan and China will shortly sign an agreement on buffalo breed improvement.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan: Sugar Annual | USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

https://www.fas.usda.gov/data/pakistan-sugar-annual-5

Due to slight increases in area and sugarcane yields, sugar production in 2022/23 is forecast to reach 7.2 million metric tons (MMT), a marginal increase over the good 2021/22 crop. Sugar consumption for 2022/23 is forecast at 6.1 MMT, which would be a 3.3 percent increase, reflecting population growth and demand from the expanding food processing sector. The production estimate for 2021/22 is increased reflecting the excellent crop last year. As a result, ending stocks are higher, leading to a larger exportable surplus entering 2022/23. Due to the large stocks, and competitive prices, sugar exports are forecast to reach one million tons in 2022/23.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan Rice exports: $2.5 billion in 2021-22: Will the rally continue? - BR Research

https://www.brecorder.com/news/40187478

It had become expected, but it certainly didn’t start that way. Pakistan’s annual rice exports earnings breached $2.5 billion during FY22 for the first time in history, growing 23 percent over the previous year. Rice exporters added nearly half a billion more in export earnings, the largest increase in exports outside of traditional categories such as garments and apparel.
Riaz Haq said…
Flash floods kill 550 in Pakistan in heaviest rains in decades

https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/05/asia/pakistan-flash-floods-kill-550-hnk-intl/index.html

Flash floods caused by abnormally heavy monsoon rains killed at least 549 people in Pakistan over the past month, with remote communities in the impoverished southwestern province of Balochistan among the hardest hit, a government agency said.

Government agencies and the army have set up aid and relief camps in flood-hit regions and are working to help relocate families and provide food and medicine.
Aside from the fatalities, the flooding had damaged more than 46,200 houses, the National Disaster Management Authority said on Friday.
"We're doing our best to provide for extensive relief and rehabilitation of flood victims," Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said during a visit to stricken areas.

But the Balochistan provincial government said it needed more funds and appealed to international organizations for assistance.
"Our losses are massive," the province's Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bezenjo said.

There were food shortages in every district hit by the flooding, with some also disconnected from the rest of the province due to more than 700 kilometers of roads being washed away.
Bezenjo said his province needed "huge assistance" from the government and from international aid agencies.
The past month was the wettest in three decades, with 133% more rain than the average for the past 30 years, the disaster authority said. Balochistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, received 305% more rain than the annual average, the disaster agency said.
Riaz Haq said…
United Nations Pakistan
@UNinPak
Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) reported an overall increase of 180% in the Monsoon rainfall this year. In Balochistan, instead of the expected 63 mm, 163 mm rainfall was recorded – an alarming 450% deviation - leading to flooding in 23 out of 35 districts.

https://twitter.com/UNinPak/status/1555596953576247298?s=20&t=n-LB7ijl4I1Dg8IqrigDSg
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan’s total grains imports, all of which are wheat, in 2021-22 are forecast at 2 million tonnes, down from 4 million the year before. The country is expected to export 200,000 tonnes of wheat, the same amount as in 2020-21.

https://www.world-grain.com/articles/15862-focus-on-pakistan

Production of rice in 2021-22 is forecast at 7.8 million tonnes, up from 7.6 million the year before. Exports of rice in 2021-22 are put at 4.2 million tonnes, up from 4 million.

The IGC also forecasts Pakistan’s imports of rapeseed at 900,000 tonnes, unchanged from the previous year.

In an annual report on June 24, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) attaché puts Pakistan’s maize production in 2021-22 at a record 7.9 million tonnes, up from 7.8 million the previous year.

“Wheat is Pakistan’s largest crop, in terms of area sown and is grown under different agro-ecological zones,” the attaché explained. “In irrigated areas, wheat is planted after cotton, rice, and sugarcane, while in rainfed areas wheat is grown at the same time as maize and millet.

“Sowing of wheat takes place from October to December and harvests from the month of March to May. Approximately 80% of farmers grow it on an area of around 9 million hectares (close to 40% of the country’s total cultivated land) during the winter or ‘Rabi’ season.”

The attaché added, “Wheat is Pakistan’s main dietary staple. Pakistan has a variety of traditional flat breads, often prepared in a traditional clay oven called a tandoor.”

Wheat flour contributes 72% of calorific intake, with per capita wheat consumption at around 124 kilograms per person each year, one of the highest levels in the world. About 95% of wheat used in Pakistan goes for human consumption.

“As incomes increase and a stronger middle class emerges, consumers are gradually shifting toward more dairy, meat, and other higher-value food products in their diet,” the report said. “Over the long term, this shift to a more balanced diet has the potential to limit the pace of growth in wheat consumption.”
Riaz Haq said…
MITHI: As many as 70 goats perished when lightning struck them in a village near Islamkot town during heavy rain that battered several parts of Tharparkar on Friday, though it redoubled joys of Tharis, whose very survival was dependent on rain.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1703753/third-spell-of-rain-lashes-lower-sindh-region


HYDERABAD: The new spell of rainfall forecasted to begin for the day began lashing lower Sindh late on Saturday night and continued for quite some time in Tharparkar, Hyderabad, Jamshoro, Badin, Thatta, Tando Mohammad Khan, Matiari and Tando Allahyar districts. Luckily, no loss of life was reported from any part of the province.

Rain started at around 9pm and continued for over 45 minutes in Hyderabad, Matiari and Tando Allahyar district, hub of sugar cane production in Sindh, where it would benefit cane crop but it might prove detrimental to cotton that was sensitive to rain.

Rain in the catchment area of Darawat Dam in Jamshoro district increased the dam’s level by 0.5 meter, raising it from 112.70 meter to 112.75 meter. The dam had achieved its maximum storage level due to heavy rainfall when its spillways started operating for the first time since the reservoirs’ completion a few days back.

12mm of rainfall was recorded in Hyderabad city’s meteorological office and 9mm at the airport office. After 45 minutes of rain another spell visited the city at around 12am which continued or around 20 minutes. Since July 14 to 25, a total of 308mm of rain had been recorded at Met city office and 246mm from July 4 to 25 at Met airport office.

Meanwhile, Sukkur barrage reached medium flood level at 6pm on Aug 6 with downstream discharge at 350,045 cusecs and upstream discharge at 381,015 cusecs. On Aug 7, Sukkur barrage downstream discharge remained 350,080 cusecs and upstream at 384,560 cusecs, according to officials.

Guddu barrage was now having low flood with 370,836 cusecs at its upstream and 343,990 cusecs discharge at 6pm on Saturday. Kotri barrage was having normal flows with its upstream discharge recorded at 196,855 cusecs and downstream at 187,780 cusecs at 6pm the same day. Flows have lately dropped in the river system at all barrages in Punjab.

Growers’ bodies are demanding waiver in recovery of taxes and loans from farmers in rain-hit areas in the province where widespread damage to crops was reported during the first spell of rain in July when 85pc date crop in Khairpur was washed away.

MITHI: As many as 70 goats perished when lightning struck them in a village near Islamkot town during heavy rain that battered several parts of Tharparkar on Friday, though it redoubled joys of Tharis, whose very survival was dependent on rain.

The rainfall in hilly areas of Nagarparkar was recorded at 45mm. It had started raining in Mithi, Chhachhro, Islamot, Dahli talukas late on Thursday night and continued on Friday.

The weather websites including Pakistan Meteorological Department forecast more intermittent heavy rainfall in Tharparkar and other parts of the province till Aug 15.

Riaz Haq said…
The country is expected to produce record-breaking over 9 million tonnes of rice against all odds in the current fiscal year against the 8.9m tonnes produced in 2021-22.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1703979

The US Foreign Agricultural Service GAIN report for July 2022 forecasts a lower production at 8.4m tonnes in Pakistan.

However, local rice sector experts expect that Pakistan will harvest more than 9m tonnes of paddy in the forthcoming season because of weather conditions, increase in acreage and better availability of farm inputs.

“Above normal rain in July and the first week of August, late sowing of paddy in cotton fields of Sindh and south Punjab which were damaged due to heavy rains, will push for a record rice production,” says Hamid Malik.

The country has a carryover stock of around 1m tonnes but higher consumption of corn for animal feed purposes will leave more exportable surplus during FY23.

“Pakistan has big chances of rice exports up to 5m tonnes during the FY23 because of lower paddy production of over 10m tonnes in India as the crop was hit by erratic rains of monsoon there, Chinese crop was affected by high temperature, and Vietnam suffered untimely rain at harvesting time,” he says.

Due to these factors, global rice production will come down to 515m tonnes this year as against 519m tonnes last year leaving a gap of 4-5 million tonnes on the supply side, he estimates, adding global average price is expected to be higher than that of the ongoing season.

About the Basmati growers, he says they may get a lesser price for their produce this year but with higher per acre yield and a cut in expenses for pumping out subsoil water due to rains and better availability of urea may give them consolation.

He predicts that prices of non-Basmati rice varieties in the local market will be higher this year.
Riaz Haq said…
Drought Bulletin of Pakistan (July 2022)


https://reliefweb.int/report/pakistan/drought-bulletin-pakistan-july-2022

During the month of July 2022, rainfall received across Pakistan is shown in Fig, 1. Above Normal rainfall reported from most of the places in Pakistan, while some stations received exceptionally high above normal rains and caused flooding in those areas. The Chief amounts of monthly rainfall recorded across Pakistan during July 2022 are shown in Table 1

Precipitation during June-July2022 was above normal especially over most of the drought-prone areas of Sindh and Balochistan, due to which drought conditions have been terminated or minimized over there.

Monsoon rainfall is expected to be above normal over the central (Punjab) and southern parts (Sindh) of the country whereas slightly above normal rainfall is expected over remaining parts of the country.

Drought Conditions has been minimized due to above normal rainfall spells over Balochistan and Sindh. The disaster management authorities are requested to plan DRM activities accordingly.
Riaz Haq said…
Devastating Floods in Pakistan (NASA Earth Observatory)

https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/150279/devastating-floods-in-pakistan

Since mid-June 2022, Pakistan has been drenched by extreme monsoon rains that have led to the country’s worst flooding in a decade. According to Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority, the floods have affected more than 33 million people and destroyed or damaged more than 1 million houses. At least 1,100 people were killed by floodwaters that inundated tens of thousands of square kilometers of the country.

The false-color images above were acquired by the Operational Land Imagers aboard the Landsat 8 and Landsat 9 satellites on August 4 and 28, respectively. The images combine shortwave infrared, near infrared, and red light (bands 6-5-4) to better distinguish flood waters (deep blue) beyond their natural channels.

The worst flooding occurred along the Indus River in the provinces of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and Sindh. The provinces of Balochistan and Sindh have so far this year received five to six times their 30-year average rainfall. Most of that arrived in summer monsoon rains.

Across the country, about 150 bridges and 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) of roads have been destroyed, according to ReliefWeb. More than 700,000 livestock and 2 million acres of crops and orchards have also been lost.

The image above, acquired by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the NOAA-20 satellite on August 31, 2022, shows the extent of flooding in the region. The image uses a combination of near-infrared and visible light to make it easier to see where rivers are out of their banks and spread across floodplains.

The immense volume of rain- and meltwater inundated the dams, reservoirs, canals, and channels of the country’s large and highly developed irrigation system. On August 31, the Indus River System Authority authorized some releases from dams because the water flowing in threatened to exceed the capacity of several reservoirs.

In the southern reaches of the Indus watershed, the deluge has turned plains into seas. These detailed images show the districts of Qambar and Shikarpur in Sindh province, which from July 1 to August 31 received 500 percent more rainfall than average.

The effect of the monsoon rains has been compounded by the continued melting of Pakistan’s 7,000 glaciers. The country holds the most glacial ice found outside the polar regions. Climate warming and recent heat waves have precipitated several glacial-outburst floods. In the rugged northern part of the country, the combined rain and meltwater has turned slopes into hill torrents.

On August 30, the Pakistani government declared a national emergency and, with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, called for international aid for humanitarian relief efforts.

Pakistan last faced such dramatic and widespread flooding in 2010.

NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey and VIIRS data from NASA EOSDIS LANCE, GIBS/Worldview, and the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS). Story by Sara E. Pratt.

Riaz Haq said…
Why are Pakistan’s floods so bad this year?
Climate change is making South Asia’s monsoons increasingly erratic

https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2022/08/31/why-are-pakistans-floods-so-bad-this-year

Even before this summer’s rains began, Pakistanis living along the country’s rivers were witness to the immense power of climate change. Meltwater from the Himalayas had swollen them by May, a month before the highest temperatures of the year were expected. Summers are getting hotter across the Indian subcontinent and, in turn, the monsoon rains that break the heat are becoming increasingly unpredictable: early or late, deficient or superabundant. This year’s devastating cloudbursts are a terrible case in point (see chart).

By the end of August Pakistan had received three times its annual average rainfall. The swollen Indus river and its many tributaries have therefore burst their banks, washing away buildings and destroying harvests and the livelihoods of millions in a country where 65% of the population is sustained directly by agriculture. A third of the country is estimated to have been submerged. And the country’s government, distracted by protracted political and economic crises, has proved to be woefully unprepared for this inundation. Over 1,100 people have perished in the floods, including hundreds of children. The government estimates that the disaster has so far caused over $10bn-worth of damage. And worse will follow as the rains keep falling and food shortages and flood-related epidemics set in.

Much of the northern hemisphere has been struggling with drought this summer. America, China and most of Europe are therefore seeing crop failures, dwindling waterways and electricity shortages (in part due to diminished availability of hydro-power and high demand for air-conditioning). Most of South Asia (including Pakistan) is meanwhile receiving unusually heavy rainfall.

In the long-term, South Asia should expect more extreme rainfall as a result of climate change. In a study published in 2021, a German research team estimated that for every degree Celsius of global warming the Indian subcontinent can expect an additional 5.3% of precipitation during the monsoon. This is because, as the atmosphere’s temperature rises, so does its capacity to bear moisture.

This year’s devastation is spread unevenly across Pakistan’s varied geography. Two relatively arid southern provinces, Sindh and Balochistan, received 336% and 446% more rain than they would during a normal July. Downriver from the glacial melt, they were especially unprepared to absorb it. Himalayan regions, such as Pakistan-administered Kashmir, have meanwhile had average or reduced rainfall.

In an appeal for foreign aid this week, Pakistan’s finance minister, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, noted how inequitably the costs of climate change are being experienced around the world. Pakistan emits less than 1% of the greenhouse-gas emissions responsible for global warming, Yet, he said, Pakistanis are “paying the price in their lives”.
Riaz Haq said…
How to help #Flood Victims in #Pakistan? Donate generously to Islamic Relief, Edhi Foundation, UNICEF, Alkhidmat, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Save the Children and other #NGOs working on the ground. #FloodsInPakistan https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/01/pakistan-help-donate-flooding/

Extreme flooding has decimated communities in Pakistan and killed more than 1,000 people, many of them children. Millions more have been displaced, their homes destroyed. Crops have been ravaged, heightening concerns of malnutrition.

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As the crisis continues to unfold, officials have called on the international community for aid, estimating it may cost billions of dollars to recover from the damage.

Here are some organizations you can donate to:

Islamic Relief
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Islamic Relief has been operating in Pakistan since 1992. The organization is focused on providing food aid, access to clean water and other humanitarian supplies. Donate here.

UNICEF
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The United Nations Children’s Fund is working to provide health services, water and hygiene kits to affected families. The agency is also setting up temporary education centers. Donate here.

International Medical Corps
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The International Medical Corps has been operating in the country since 1985. The organization is focused on providing medical care and supplies, mental health support, as well as water, sanitation and hygiene services. Donate here.

Alkhidmat Foundation Pakistan
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This nonprofit launched an Emergency Flood Appeal calling for donations. The organization has been providing food and shelter to those affected since July. Donate here.

International Rescue Committee
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The IRC has operated in Pakistan since 1980. The organization has “reached almost 20,000 people with critical food, supplies and medical support,” Shabnam Baloch, IRC’s Pakistan director, said in a statement. “We are urgently requesting donors to step up their support and help us save lives.” Donate here.

Mercy Corps
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Mercy Corps is working in the hard-hit province of Baluchistan, providing food, water and funds to those affected. Donate here.

Save the Children
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Save the Children has been working in Pakistan since 1979. The organization is providing shelter, schooling, food and cookware to affected areas. Donate here.
Riaz Haq said…
Michael Kugelman
@MichaelKugelman
Some of the countries that have pledged (and in some cases already delivered) flood relief aid to Pakistan:

Azerbaijan
Bangladesh
Canada
China
Denmark
France
Iran
Kazakhstan
Norway
Qatar
Singapore
Turkey
UAE
UK
US

Also reports that some G20 countries will provide debt relief.

https://twitter.com/MichaelKugelman/status/1565533667417591808?s=20&t=KfLSxKzQGeBjG-T9HkgT9A
Riaz Haq said…
#US will provide $30 million for relief effort in #PakistanFloods2022 which 'affected an estimated 33 million people," destroyed or damaged one million homes, and has led to the loss of "nearly 735,000 livestock -- a major source of livelihoods and food."https://www.cnn.com/2022/09/02/politics/usaid-dart-pakistan/index.html

According to the agency, the Disaster Assistance Response Team, or DART, will "lead the US government's response efforts in Pakistan," where at least 1,100 have been killed and at least 4,800 have been injured in floods across the country since June 14.

A USAID spokesperson told CNN Friday that there are currently "four members of the DART on the ground in Pakistan working to assess the situation and determine how the United States can work with the Government of Pakistan to provide additional resources."
More members of the team are on their way, and "the DART will remain active on the ground until USAID can determine that needs have been met," the spokesperson said.

According to the spokesperson, The Department of Defense "is sending an assessment team to Islamabad to determine what potential support DoD can provide to USAID as part of the United States' assistance to the flooding crisis in Pakistan." They said the aid "remains in close coordination with DoD to determine any necessary support for our response."
"In addition to mobilizing the DART, U.S. government staff based in the region and Washington, D.C., are monitoring the situation closely, including any potential impacts the flooding may have in the broader region," the agency said in a press release Friday.
Earlier this week, USAID announced that the US will provide $30 million in humanitarian assistance in response to the flooding, which it said "has affected an estimated 33 million people," destroyed or damaged one million homes, and has led to the loss of "nearly 735,000 livestock -- a major source of livelihoods and food."
"With these funds, USAID partners will prioritize urgently needed support for food, nutrition, multi-purpose cash, safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene, and shelter assistance," the press release from the agency said.
Riaz Haq said…
The New York Times
@nytimes
Flooding has crippled Pakistan’s agricultural sector, battering the country as it reels from an economic crisis and inflation that has sent the price of basic goods soaring. Officials warn the flooding threatens to set Pakistan back years or even decades. https://nyti.ms/3qvsCE4

https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1568999070571659269?s=20&t=YnIgUPmGWNRNOFxTpqKvCQ

------------

While large landowners will likely survive the floods, the damage has been devastating for the tens of thousands of smaller landowners and farmers that make up the backbone of Pakistan’s agriculture sector, Mr. Khaskheli added.

Land ownership remains an extremely feudal system in Pakistan, made up largely of vast estates cultivated by farmers who work as forced labor, primarily in the form of debt bondage.

Officials have warned that the damage and economic losses will be felt throughout the country for months and years to come. The loss of cotton to Pakistan’s textile industry, which contributes nearly 10 percent of the country’s G.D.P., could hamper any hopes for an economic recovery.

Riaz Haq said…
NASA Earth Observatory on Pakistan Floods:


Flood Woes Continue in Pakistan

https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/150470/flood-woes-continue-in-pakistan

In early September 2022, floods in Pakistan were the worst in a decade. Monsoon rains had pummeled the region for several weeks and floodwaters inundated 75,000 square kilometers of the country. Six weeks later, rains have ceased, and fields have begun to drain. But vast swaths of farmland remain waterlogged, infectious diseases are spreading, and food shortages loom.

The images above show the progression of the flooding. The second image shows Sindh province on August 31, 2022, near the peak of the flooding. By October 13, 2022 (third image), a considerable amount of water had drained off the landscape and back into rivers. But many areas remained wet and waterlogged in comparison to June 2022 (first image). All three images were acquired by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the NOAA-20 satellite. They are false-color images based on VIIRS observations of shortwave infrared and visible light, a combination that makes it easier to distinguish between water (blue) and land (green).

Rains in September 2022 were modest. Rather, the flooding visible in these images was caused by the arrival of torrential monsoon rains that hit southern Pakistan in July and August. (The rains were likely made more intense by climate change, according to the World Weather Attribution Initiative.)

The animation above depicts a satellite-based estimate of rainfall from July 1 to August 31, 2022. The darkest reds reflect the highest amounts of rainfall, with Pakistan’s Sindh and Balochistan provinces seeing the heaviest rains. The data are remotely sensed estimates that come from the Integrated Multi-Satellite Retrievals for GPM (IMERG), a product of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite mission. Due to the averaging of the satellite data, local rainfall amounts may be significantly higher when measured from the ground. Sindh and Balochistan received four times more rain than usual for this period, according to data from the Pakistan Meteorological Department.

With so much standing water in fields for so many weeks, the floods have taken a toll on Pakistan’s farmers. One satellite-based assessment conducted by researchers at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) forecasted that floodwaters would likely reduce Sindh's cotton crop by 88 percent, rice crop by 80 percent, and sugarcane crop by 61 percent.

“Unlike previous floods, the current floods have inundated areas where there is little possibility that water can drain naturally,” explained Faisal Mueen Qamer, a remote sensing specialist with ICIMOD. “Local governments are currently making cuts to roads and other linear infrastructure to make it easier for the water to flow back to rivers or toward empty lands. Some farmers are operating pumps to help drain their lands before planting winter crops.”

Yet with many fields still waterlogged in October, some farmers may have to delay or abandon planting winter crops, such as wheat. The deaths of more than 1.1 million livestock animals during the flooding has further strained the food system in Pakistan. With food prices soaring, World Food Organization and U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization assessments reported that the number of people requiring emergency food assistance will increase from 7.2 million prior to the flood to 14.6 million from December through March 2023.

Flood-hit communities have also seen outbreaks of waterborne diseases, with news outlets reporting outbreaks of dengue, cholera, and malaria.

Riaz Haq said…
USDA Revised Forecast For Pakistan Grain & Feed Production:


https://www.fas.usda.gov/data/pakistan-grain-and-feed-update-20

Report Highlights:
Due to the impact of the recent flooding, the 2022/23 rice production forecast is lowered to 8.3 million tons. With a slow-down in exports during July and August, plus the recent flooding causing a pause in export activities, marketing year 2021/22 rice exports are lowered to 4.5 million tons. Similarly, due to
expected lower exportable supplies, 2022/23 rice exports are now projected at 4.2 million tons

Wheat
Wheat production, supply, and distribution forecasts are unchanged. Given the pace of imports and the
domestic stock situation, the 2022/23 wheat import forecast remains 2.5 million tons.
Stagnant Flood Waters in Sindh Province Likely to Hinder 2023/24 Wheat Planting
The recent floods are likely to negatively impact 2023/24 wheat planted area. Farmers normally begin
planting the wheat crop in mid-October and November in Sindh and Punjab, respectively. Sindh
province usually accounts for almost twenty percent of national wheat production. However, large areas
of Sindh typically planted to wheat are still submerged, and it may be several months before the flood
waters recede. With Sindh’s flat terrain, poor drainage, and current high-water table, flood waters are
receding slowly. As a result, seeding the 2023/24 wheat crop in Sindh is likely to be delayed and some
areas may possibly remain unseeded. Even where the waters recede, farmers are likely to face
difficulties in wheat planting as the floods washed away on-farm wheat seed stock in many areas.
Additionally, farmers’ purchasing power in the affected areas is severely compromised making it
difficult for them to buy fertilizers and other inputs.

Due to the impact of the recent floods, the 2022/23 rice production forecast is revised down to 8.3
million tons, which would be nine percent less than the last year’s record production of 9.1 million. This
forecast hinges on inundated areas in Sindh province draining prior to harvest. The 2021/2022 rice
production estimate is updated to 9.1 million tons based on latest official government data.
The recent flooding has most adversely effected rice production areas in Sindh province. Within Sindh,
rice production areas in Larkana, Dadu, Shikarpur, Qambar Shadadkot, Thatta and Badin are still
submerged in flood waters. Sindh accounts for about thirty percent of Pakistan’s total rice area.
In Punjab, floods were severe in South Punjab, where rice area is minimal. Central Punjab, where most
of the Basmati rice is produced, was not affected by the floods. In fact, the rice production in this
Basmati producing zone will benefit from the above average rainfall during the monsoon period.

Record Exports Projected Despite Floods Disrupting Supply Chains
Given the export pace and flood’s impact, marketing year (Nov/Oct) 2021/22 rice exports are reduced
from 4.9 to 4.5 million tons, which would still be a record export level. With lower available domestic
supplies, the 2022/23 rice export forecast is lowered to 4.2 million tons.
Riaz Haq said…
GIEWS Country Brief: Pakistan 04-October-2022

https://reliefweb.int/report/pakistan/giews-country-brief-pakistan-04-october-2022

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

Severe flooding caused widespread devastation to agricultural sector

Wheat imports in 2022/23 marketing year forecast well above five-year average

Prices of most basic food products at record or near-record levels in August

Acute food insecurity expected to worsen due to negative impact of floods and high prices of basic food items, energy and fuel

Severe flooding caused substantial damage to 2022 “Kharif” cereal and cash crops

Heavy monsoon rains caused severe floods between mid-June and end-August 2022 with widespread devastation to the agricultural sector, especially in the southern parts of the country.

Preliminary official estimates, as of 27 September 2022, indicate that about 2.6 million hectares of standing “Kharif” crops have been adversely affected, mainly in the province of Sindh (1.9 million hectares), Balochistan (365 000 hectares), Punjab (285 000 hectares) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (60 700 hectares). The area affected by floods represents about 35 percent of the total area planted to cereals, sugarcane and cotton during the 2022 “Kharif” season. Severe losses are reported for cotton and rice crops as well as vegetables and orchards. The production forecasts of 13.2 million tonnes for rice and 9.4 million tonnes for maize, sorghum and millet will need to be downward revised to take into consideration the extensive losses due to floods. Standing flood waters are expected to hamper harvesting operations of the “Kharif” crops, which are set to start in October, and to increase harvest and post-harvest losses.

Floods did not affect the 2021/22 main “Rabi” wheat crop, which accounts for about 55 percent of the total annual cereal output, as its harvest was already concluded by mid-June. Despite record plantings, the 2022 wheat output is officially estimated at a near-average level of 26.1 million tonnes as yields were affected by heatwaves between March and April, and shortages of urea fertilizers and irrigation water supplies.

Planting of the “Rabi” wheat crop, almost entirely irrigated, normally takes place between October and December. As many areas are still flooded, planting operations for the 2022/23 wheat crop are expected to be severely hampered. In addition, floods resulted in the loss or damage of agricultural inputs, including seed stocks, fertilizers, machinery at household level and irrigation infrastructure, which may result in a contraction in the area planted and have a negative impact on crop development.

Regarding the livestock sector, preliminary official estimates show that 1.1 million animals, including cattle, goats, donkeys and sheep, died due to drowning or starvation as grazing land was covered by water and feed stocks were lost. Most of the animal deaths are reported in Balochistan Province (estimated around 500 000) followed by Sindh (393 000), Punjab (205 000) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (21 000). Widespread damage to livestock shelters has also been reported.
Riaz Haq said…
GIEWS Country Brief: Pakistan 04-October-2022

https://reliefweb.int/report/pakistan/giews-country-brief-pakistan-04-october-2022


Wheat imports in 2022/23 forecast well above five-year average

In the 2022/23 marketing year (April/March), wheat import requirements are estimated at 2.3 million tonnes, close to previous year’s well above-average level. The high level of imports reflects the government’s announcement, in July 2022, to import large quantities of wheat aiming to boost availabilities, amid elevated domestic prices.

Prices of most basic food products at record or near-record levels in August

Prices of wheat flour, the country’s main food staple, have been generally increasing since the end of 2021, low levels of domestic stocks, following below-average outputs in 2018 and 2020, and high export flows (wheat grain and wheat flour). High agricultural input costs and inflationary pressure also supported prices. In August 2022, prices of wheat flour were at record or near-record levels, averaging about 30 percent higher year on year. Similarly, domestic prices of rice were at record levels in August 2022 after increasing since late 2021, amid general inflationary pressure and strong demand for exports. Prices of vegetables and livestock products registered substantial increases, particularly in the markets near the flood-affected areas. The depreciation of the national currency caused a strong rise in domestic prices of imported items, such as petroleum and energy products. Given the extensive damage by floods to road infrastructure, physical access to food in some areas is very difficult.

Overall, the year-on-year inflation rate increased to 27.3 percent in August 2022, compared to 8.4 percent in August 2021. The year-on-year food price inflation stood at 30.2 percent in rural areas and at 28.8 percent in urban areas.

Acute food insecurity expected to worsen due to negative impact of floods and high prices of basic food items, energy and fuel

According to latest official estimates, floods affected about 33 million people (nearly 15 percent of the total population) in 116 out of the country’s 160 districts, particularly in southern provinces of Sindh and Balochistan. On 24 August 2022, the government announced a state of emergency and 81 districts were declared as calamity hit. Floods caused severe damage to housing and infrastructure, including roads, bridges and shops. According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, carried out in 28 districts in Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces prior to the floods in the first week of July, about 5.96 million people are projected to be facing high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 [Crisis] and above), between July and November 2022. Acute food insecurity levels are expected to increase considerably in 2022 as livelihoods of a large number of people have been disrupted and vulnerable households have often depleted their productive assets in order to secure their basic needs. In addition, prices of basic food items, energy and fuel, are at high levels worsening access to these items for large numbers of people.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan: 2022 Monsoon Floods - Situation Report No. 11 (As of 11 November 2022)


https://reliefweb.int/report/pakistan/pakistan-2022-monsoon-floods-situation-report-no-11-11-november-2022


Highlights

As people continue to return to their places of origin and with the winter season approaching, the vulnerabilities of the flood-affected people are further heightened with an immediate need for adequate shelter, food items and tents.

More than 5.1 million women are of reproductive age, including an estimated 410,846 pregnant women. Approximately 136,950 births are expected in the next three months.

A comparison of pre-flood (June) and post-flood (September) prices of some food commodities indicates a huge increase in prices.

As of 11 November, humanitarian partners have reached 7.9 million people with life-saving assistance in flood-affected areas.

Vector-borne and water-borne diseases remain a major concern in flood-affected areas. Around 1,000 confirmed cholera cases and 64,767 dengue fever cases, with 147 deaths, have been reported.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

Over the past few weeks, flooded waters have continued to recede in many flood-affected areas across Pakistan, although vast volumes of persistent flood waters remain stagnant in many places, particularly Sindh and Balochistan provinces. Based on observations by the United Nations (UN) Satellite Centre between 03 October and 09 October 2022 and compared with observations between 11 and 17 October 2022, the overall flood water continues to decrease with approximately 200 km2 in Balochistan, 100km2 in Punjab and 4000 km2 in Sindh. According to the latest data, large parts of Kashmore, Jacobabad, Mirpurkhas and Sanghar in Sindh observed significant water reduction. In most affected districts of Sindh, local governments are de-watering land to allow people to resume their livelihoods.

In the flood-impacted areas, many households rely on agriculture and livestock production for their livelihoods, and damage to these sectors will have a major impact on food security and the agriculture sector in the coming months. According to information from the field, farmers reported debt of around PKR 100,000-150,000 on average due to damages to their crops. Most of the Kharif season crop damage occurred in Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces, and most of the livestock losses occurred in Balochistan, Sindh, and Punjab.

The uncertain economic situation in the country, exacerbated by the heavy monsoon floods, is creating significant challenges to local ecosystems and food supply chains. According to World Food Program (WFP), a comparison of pre-flood (June) and post-flood (September) prices of some food commodities indicated a huge increase in prices - wheat flour 32%, pulse moong 57%, tomatoes 138%, potatoes 45%, and onions 44%. In September alone, prices increased for staple cereals, including wheat flour (+17.2%), wheat (+10.2%), rice Irri-6 (+7.9%), and rice Basmati (+2.3%) compared to August 2022. As for non-cereal food commodities, the trend remains - a significant increase was noted in the average retail prices of pulse Moong (18.6%), live chicken (14.1%), eggs (13.8%), pulses Gram (6.7%) and Mash (6.5%).

Cases of water and vector-borne diseases and acute respiratory illnesses, especially among children and older adults, remain a key public health challenge in flood-affected areas of Sindh and Balochistan. As of 8 November, according to World Health Organization (WHO), around 8 million flood-affected people need health assistance, including the provision of essential medical supplies and access to essential health care. As the displaced people return to their places of origin, they face an increased risk of disease transmission driven by damaged infrastructure, stagnant water, and inadequate sanitation facilities.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan: 2022 Monsoon Floods - Situation Report No. 11 (As of 11 November 2022)


https://reliefweb.int/report/pakistan/pakistan-2022-monsoon-floods-situation-report-no-11-11-november-2022


Cases of water and vector-borne diseases and acute respiratory illnesses, especially among children and older adults, remain a key public health challenge in flood-affected areas of Sindh and Balochistan. As of 8 November, according to World Health Organization (WHO), around 8 million flood-affected people need health assistance, including the provision of essential medical supplies and access to essential health care. As the displaced people return to their places of origin, they face an increased risk of disease transmission driven by damaged infrastructure, stagnant water, and inadequate sanitation facilities. Since the beginning of the year, around 1,000 confirmed cholera cases and 64,767 dengue fever cases, with 147 deaths, have been reported. Furthermore, according to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), as of 10 November, more than 5.1 million women are of reproductive age (15-49 years), including an estimated 410,846 women who are currently pregnant, with approximately 136,950 births expected in the next three months. For these women, there is a need to strengthen health systems, train health workers, educate midwives and improve access to the full range of reproductive health services.

Water, sanitation and hygiene face heightened challenges due to the destruction of water infrastructure and low availability of clean water for bathing, cooking and drinking, with families resorting to contaminated water for daily use. Even before the floods, according to the World Bank, the country faced high water shortage risks for non-agricultural purposes. Under a high-growth (4.9 per cent per year) and high-warming (3°C by 2047) scenario, water demand is projected to increase by almost 60 per cent, with the highest rates of the increase coming from the domestic and industrial sectors. Climate warming will account for up to 15 per cent of this increase in demand. Moreover, climate-related shocks like the current floods will continue to put additional strain on access to safe water for communities.

As of 11 November, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has recorded 1,739 deaths and 12,867 injuries since mid-June. In addition, more than 2.2 million houses have been damaged or destroyed, 13,115 kilometres of roads damaged, 439 bridges destroyed, and over 1.1 million livestock lost. Furthermore, as the winter season in many of the affected areas is approaching fast, the vulnerabilities of the flood-affected people are further heightened with the immediate need for shelter, food items and non-food items.

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan floods: ancient grains like millet could be key to rebuilding food systems

https://theconversation.com/pakistan-floods-ancient-grains-like-millet-could-be-key-to-rebuilding-food-systems-190184


The cultivation of large-grain cereals like wheat and rice has become the norm in South Asia since the 1960s. Wheat is the primary crop grown in the flooded provinces of Punjab and Sindh, for example. Agricultural scientists suggest that millets would be more suitable. These “pseudograins” come from broad-leafed plants with small seeds that were very popular in earlier centuries and can be turned into flour to make dough. Along with amaranth and fonio (two more crops with small, hardy seeds), millets are increasing in popularity globally. A recent market analysis indicated that the production of these ancient grains could grow, as increasing global demand is expected to increase at a compound annual rate of 26% between 2022 and 2030.

Cultivating a wider choice of crops would let farmers compensate for falling yields as intensifying heatwaves make wheat cultivation increasingly difficult.

These alternative grains are typically favoured by farmers with less than two acres of land in Asia and Africa. Their cultivation could reduce poverty in these rural communities by allowing farmers to sell their produce in global markets.

Flood-ravaged regions of Pakistan must return to food production and escape hunger as soon as possible. Given the quickening cycles of drought and flooding triggered by global heating, growing hardier alternative crops makes sense. And as water becomes less reliable, crop production could be stabilised by modifying water mangagement systems, including a switch to drip irrigation which saves water by laying pipes which trickle moisture on or below the soil.

A greater selection of crops could also offer a more diverse diet for local people. In the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, only 10% of vegetables grown are processed locally, giving this food a short shelf life and preventing farmers from selling their produce in Pakistan. Investment in transport and storage to reduce spoilage could enable a thriving vegetable trade between provinces.

Resilient food systems in other parts of the world could emulate these proposed changes in Pakistan by diversifying crops to include older, hardier varieties, adopting water conservation methods and helping communities grow both cereals and vegetables which can be eaten locally, for better nutrition and more secure livelihoods.

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