Most farmers in Pakistan whose crops were destroyed in last year’s devastating floods do not have any insurance they can fall back on, leaving many thousands facing potential destitution.

Smallholder farmers are particularly vulnerable – not only were their summer crops ruined, but they are now struggling to buy seeds, fertiliser and other inputs for their winter crops, since prices of all have skyrocketed.

According to a report released by the Planning Commission of Pakistan, the agriculture, food, livestock and fisheries sectors suffered damage totalling PKR 800 billion (USD 3.7 billion) in the devastating floods that hit Pakistan between June and August 2022, which affected 33 million people and displaced at least 8 million. The report estimates the long-term losses to these sectors at around PKR 1.98 trillion (USD 9.24 billion).

Sindh and Balochistan were the provinces worst hit by the floods. A September 2022 report by provincial disaster management authorities suggested that around 35 per cent of households were engaged in cultivation in the flood-affected areas, and that 6.5 million acres of crops and orchards were affected. This includes around 4.8 million acres in Sindh, 0.9 million acres in Balochistan, 0.7 million acres in Punjab and 0.15 million acres in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“We are in a difficult situation as we neither have any crop insurance nor proper subsidies on the agriculture inputs,” Syed Mehmood Ahmed Shah, a grower and representative of the Sindh Abadkar Association, a body of farmers in southern Sindh province, told The Third Pole.

“We lost almost 80 percent produce in the Kharif [summer] season and there is high uncertainty about the Rabi [winter] season crops as water still stands in the growing areas in many parts of Sindh,” Shah added. Few smallholder farmers can afford to hire pumps to drain out the water, he said.

“This is a major blow to the growers besides having long-term implications for the food security of the country,” said Shah. “It is unlikely that farmers can stand on their feet without substantial government support.”

Read the full article about Pakistan floods by P M Baigal at Eco-Business.