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    Torrential rains affect wheat crop, fruits orchards in KP; farmers demand compensation

    Torrential rains affect wheat crop, fruits orchards in KP; farmers demand compensation

    PESHAWAR(APP): Damaged fruits orchards in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s  Swat, Shangla and Dir districts, the recent torrential rains and flash floods have adversally affected standing wheat crops on hundreds of acres land inundated by the gushing water, inflicting substantial economic losses to poor farmers now looking for Govt. assistance.

    In KP, the financial woes of affected farmers were further increased after flash floods in rivers Punjkora and Kabul have entered in standing wheat crops especially in low-laying and rivers bed areas of Nowshera, Peshawar and Charsadda districts.

    Kamal Khan, a 28 years old progressive wheat farmer and a resident of village Mohib Banda Nowshera district told APP that the climate change induced weather patterns including the recent torrential rains and high floods in River Kabul have brought hovac to wheat crop besides delayed harvesting process in KP.

    Kamal is worried regarding harvesting of wheat crop on his five acres agriculture lands at Mohib Banda located on south of River Kabul after the gushing flood water an inundated it completely on Tuesday morning.

    The farmer along with three other brothers were seen pumping out flood and rains water from his field from dawn to dusk, hoping to start wheat harvesting process as soon as possible.

    Kamal Khan and the flood hit farmers of Mohib Banda and adjoining villages of Nowshera and Charsadda districts have demanded of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government to provide them compensation.

    Kamal, who was also among hundreds of thousands of people affected by the 2022 floods, has expressed the strong resolve to come again in his field on Wednesday morning to pump out all the remaining standing water.

    KP agriculture department officials told APP that survey of the standing wheat crops and fruits orchard gardens affected by the recent torrential rains and flash floods would soon be started and relief to be provided to the affectees on the basis of the survey’s report.

    He said that areas located in rivers beds in Nowshera and Charsadda were most vulnerable to flash floods as evident of the August 28, 2022 flooding that brought hovac to hotels, agriculture, livestock and fisheries sectors in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

    Started from Mataltan, Mahudhand and Kalam valleys in Upper Swat, the 2022 floods had badly damaged the irrigation sector especially canals, watercourses, channels, tubewells and flood protection walls and still substential financial resources were required for its reconstruction.

    The restoration of flood hit water sources for agricultural purpose is also a big challenge and the farmers years were eying on new KP Govt for rebuilding of the destroyed irrigation infrastructures as quickly as possible to increase wheat production.

    The destruction of lift irrigation, SCARP and irrigation projects and watercourses comes out of rivers and canals in Hazara, Malakand, Peshawar, Bannu and DI Khan divisions by the 2022 floods caused negative effects on wheat, rice, maize and fruits orchards in KP.

    He said the velocity of the 2022 floods was so high that it not only swept away canals and flood protection walls but also destroyed tube wells and lift-canal irrigation schemes in KP, creating a lot of problems for wheat growers till today.

    Ahmed Said, former Senior Planning Officer of the KP Agriculture Department told APP that farmers have pinned high expectations from the KP government for its speedy reconstruction.

    He said that Pakistan was among the 10th countries vulnerable to climate change.

    He said the climate change induced weather patterns have negatively impacted on the agriculture production in Pakistan and time has come to plants tree more and more vital to slow rains water velocity.

    Ahmed Said that Pakistan was an eight leading wheat production countries in world after China, India, Russia, USA, Canada, Australia and Ukrain and its ranking could be improved by constructing new dams inevitable to bring the vast arid and dryland under agriculture cover.

    He said that Pakistan’s total wheat consumption grows to 30.2 metric tons from 29.2 metric tons in 2022-23 while 32.12metric tons target was fixed for 2023-24 by the Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA).

    He said that Punjab has been projected to produce 25 metric tonnes of wheat while Sindh’s target is four metric tons followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s 1.6m tonnes and Balochistan’s 1.5metric tonnes during 2024 which could  be produced from 8.9 million hectares.

    Ahmed Said that KP’s canals irrigate about 2.25 million acres of agriculture lands to cater food requirements of the population that passed the psychological barrier of 241 million mark this year. 

    The surveys and field formations’ reports of the KP Irrigation Department has revealed that out of about Rs22.387 billion damages caused by the 2022 floods to irrigation sector, about Rs3.245 billion losses were incurred to flood mitigation and drainage infrastructure projects having accumulative length of 90 kilometers and 237 irrigation structures in the province.

    Two projects i.e. “restoration of irrigation structures and water drainage system” worth Rs3.245 billion and restoration of water supplies and channels in irrigation system” worth Rs2.457billion were approved for KP a non-ADP schemes after the devastated floods.

    The official said PC-I of both the projects were approved and practical work on restoration of canals and irrigation structures were already started to facilitate the farmers.

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