TANDO FAZAL (Hyderabad): Flooded agricultural land is seen on Monday. Heavy rains and floods have destroyed thousands of acres of farmland across Sindh, badly damaging major crops. — PPI

The federal government has estimated a loss of at least $10 billion caused by weeks of torrential rains and subsequent floods, with Sindh, in particular, suffering damages of over $1.6bn (Rs355bn) as all major crops have been destroyed.

Speaking to the media, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail shared the damages estimate, saying the economic impact of floods would be at least $10bn, which is roughly translated to three per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.

Meanwhile, Sindh CM Adviser on Agriculture Manzoor Wassan told Dawn that the heavy rains had destroyed cotton, rice, and date crops, causing a loss of Rs109.347bn. “Besides, chilli and other crops have also been destroyed by rain,” he added.

Wasan said that almost the entire cotton crop standing on over 1.4 million acres, rice standing on 602,120 acres and dates on 101,379 acres had been destroyed. “Almost 50pc of the sugarcane crop on 729,582 acres has also been damaged,” he said.

Giving details of other crops damaged by heavy rains in the province, he said that almost 50pc of other crops of sesame, tomato, chilli, Kharif vegetables and onion had also been destroyed.

To a question, he said that there would be a great deal of difficulty in sowing wheat, which was due in the next two months. “The flood water is not expected to be completely drained out of the farmers’ fields in two months,” he added.

He said that there were unprecedented rains in Sindh, but the provincial government was doing its best to provide relief to the people affected by rains and flash floods.

The agriculture adviser said that he had distributed more than 4,000 tents, tarpaulins, ration bags and cash among the affected people.

He said that the farmers had incurred huge losses and they would be given relief to bear these losses. Revenue charges (Abiana) would be waived for kharif season 2022 by the revenue department, he added.

Wassan said that date palm growers had lost their entire crop. “It has been proposed that case compensation may be given to them at 50pc of their crop value.

He said that a compensation package for the rest of the crops damaged during the torrential rains might be announced on a 50pc input cost basis, including seed, fertiliser, and pesticides.

To a question, he said that agricultural loans provided to the growers during Kharif 2022 in rain-affected areas might be rescheduled and the interest on the loans might be waived.

“New interest-free loans for rain-affected areas may be provided on easy terms,” he added.

Wassan said that efforts were being made to protect the crops by extracting water from the fields.

“We are with people and we can’t leave them alone in these hard days,” he vowed.

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