Home Impact producer Prolonged monsoon rains severely damage date crops and impact the income of thousands of people

Prolonged monsoon rains severely damage date crops and impact the income of thousands of people

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PESHAWAR, (UrduPoint/Pakistan Point News – August 6, 2022): Early onset of monsoon season and prolonged downpours in most parts of the country are producing badly damaged dates, depriving thousands of people of their income in addition to giving an abnormal push to the price of the product on the market due to the widening of the gap between supply and demand.

Growers and traders associated with the cultivation and sale of dates in Sukker and Khairpure districts of Sindh province, the largest date producing region contributing 50 percent of the country’s annual production of 550,000 to 650,000 tons of dates, are of the opinion that prolonged downpours have damaged about 70 percent of dates harvested in these districts during the season of the current year.

Dates are grown in all four provinces of Pakistan over an area of ​​about 75,000 hectares, while Kharipur and Sukker are the largest producing areas, followed by Balochistan, Punjab and DlKhan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

More than 400,000 tons of dates are produced from orchids spread over thousands of hectares of land in these two districts of Sindh, supporting thousands of poor workers.

“This year’s monsoon rains were very unusual, surprising for date growers who have been associated with this practice for several decades,” observed Iqrar Ali, an orchid owner.

“The long period of rain during the high season affected the natural ripening of dates, turning the taste from sweet to sour in addition to causing premature fruit to drop from the trees,” Iqrar says in a media interview.

“Almost half of the dates are damaged due to the rains which continued for about 20 to 22 days in Sindh,” said Gurmak Das, a date trader who inherited the trade from his father.

Yield damage caused a sharp increase in the price of commodities on August 2, 2022. About 40 kg of dry date (chowara) are sold at a price of Rs. 26,000 against the routine price of Rs. Five to seven thousand per mound (40 kg), revealed Gurmak.

Speaking to Sukker’s APP, Gurmak Das said the good quality date is not available in the market even at the price of Rs. 10-11 thousand, almost double the normal price of Rs. thousands of traditional fruits.

Gurmak said he was 41 and had never witnessed such prolonged rains in Sukker, where the weather usually remains dry and hot.

Nowadays the weather is very pleasant due to the long period of rain, but this respite from the scorching heat is suitable for humans and not for dates which need dry and hot weather at the time of ripening, a- he declared.

Regarding the loss estimates, Gurmak assumed that the annual production usually consists of around 2.5 to three million bags (40 kg each) of dry dates (chowara) which can be reduced to 1.

5 million bags this year.

“Most of the losses due to crop damage were incurred by traders who had made advance payments to orchid owners by reserving the purchase of their products at the appropriate time,” said Hub-e-Ali Jatoi, Chairman of the date market in the Sukker division. including more than 250 shops.

The number of day laborers associated with the date trade in the region, men and women, number in the thousands and have all suffered from reduced production.

Losses are a part of business and we repeatedly face crop damage due to bad weather or disease, but the loss this year is unprecedented and huge, says Hub-e-Ali.

The damage to date crops will also negatively impact trade in the commodity which is exported to various countries including neighboring India, Bangladesh and Nepal, he added.

Pakistan is the world’s fifth largest producer of dates and our exports are estimated at around $107.4 million worth of fresh or dried dates to the world.

According to a report by Pakistan Meteorological Department released in press on August 3, 2022, Pakistan broke a record 61 years of rainfall in the month of July this year.

The country received 181% more rain than usual while Balochistan received 450% more rain than usual.

Sindh province recorded 308% more rain than usual, Punjab 116%, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 30% and Gilgit Baltisan 32%.

“Climate changes in the form of severe storms, untimely and erratic rains, hailstones are having a negative impact on different crops in the country and this year we have witnessed a drastic drop of 50% in the annual yield of mangoes,” revealed Waheed Ahmad, chief boss of all. Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters Association.

Speaking to APP, Waheed Ahmad informed that the total mango production dropped from 1.8 million to 0.9 million tons due to the early heat wave in the country.

This 50 percent drop in mango production forced exporters to reduce their export target for the current year from 150,000 tons to 125,000 tons, a reduction of 25,000 tons.

Waheed suggested adopting good agricultural practices in addition to focusing on research and development for the promotion of drip and sprinkler irrigation agriculture and other models adapted to the changing climate. environment and climate.

Pakistan is among the 10 most vulnerable countries in the world to the impacts of climate change and if due consideration is not given to mitigation measures, loss of life, property, agriculture and livelihoods will continue to be suffered by people with an unusual increase in their annual income. base, warns Waheed.