Floods cause losses of Rs. 249 billion to agriculture

The devastating floods have inflicted losses of Rs.249 billion to agriculture sector, according to the initial estimates.

However, actual damages could be calculated once the flood water recedes in the affected areas, Federal Minister for Agriculture, Nazar Muhammad Gondal said.

“The floods have caused damage of Rs.249 billion to the agriculture, however the actual damages could be calculated after flood water recedes in affected areas,” the minister told media persons here.

He said that the government has devised short-term, medium-term and long-term strategies to rehabilitate flood-affected people, adding that the federal and provincial governments would be providing Rs.20,000 to each affected families to meet their immediate needs.

Gondal said that the government would make all out efforts and utilize all possible resources to rehabilitate the affected people adding that it was also was determined to provide relief to masses amid the fears of price hike of commodities owing to floods.

He said that the government has deferred the decision of exporting the wheat adding that the decision to this effect would now be taken after assessing the flood damages and wheat crop prospects.

He said that huge stock of wheat was available in the country so there is not chance of food shortage.

He said that the government in consultation with the stakeholders has devised a comprehensive programme to cultivate canola, sunflower and other oil crops on 0.1 million acres of land in flood hit areas to help farmers stand on their own feet.

He added that next was the season of cultivating canola, sunflower and other oil crops and government would facilitate farmers by providing seeds, fertilizers and other necessary requirements for the cultivation.

The government also announced canola production policy, providing incentives to farmers, enhancing support prices to Rs.1800 to boost production, reduce imports and help flood-affected people stand on their own feet.

The country has been spending US$ 2 billion annually on the import of edible oil which could be saved by enhancing oil production in the country, Gondal said.