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Water shortage may affect crops

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) –┬ápartnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 16 February 2010

LAHORE. Water shortage may adversely affect the production of wheat and sugarcane production this year.

According to an official of the Punjab Agriculture Department, dry conditions have led to low water flows in rivers as well as scanty rainfall during the ongoing Rabi season. The water availability situation is worse this year and warrants extensive water management measures to avoid crisis as official sources are declaring water shortage to the extent of 40 per cent this year.

Pakistan Wheat Field. Photo by 'thelasttif'.

A yield loss of 0.4 to 0.5 million tons for wheat crop has been estimated in rain-fed areas, with wheat acreage down in rain-fed areas by 19 per cent or 500,000 acres this season. Owing to lack of rains, out of sown 1.3 million acres, around 400,000 acres already stand severely damaged.

It is estimated that one fifth of the total cultivation land of Pakistan, which is 4.9 million hectres, is drought prone:

A contingent plan for irrigation of standing wheat crop has been developed by Agriculture and Irrigation Department, Punjab. Water management plan is aimed at making available canal water for at least two irrigations to the wheat crop before March 10, but if hydrological drought continued the crop would be further endangered.

On the other hand, a combination of factors – severe water stress and lack of quality seed-may create a big hole in sugarcane production, next year. The crop has tumbled over the last two years with a drop of 30 per cent in 2007-08. Another six percent is gone this year. The cane prices are up by 100 to 150 per cent this year. The sugar market is feared to be even more unstable next year if water stress persists.

Pakistan is facing severe shortage of water and this problem is mounting day by day. In this scenario, there is a great need to focus attention on developing drought tolerant crops that can grow with limited water.

Source: The News

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