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Special Report:
Flood Crisis


FAO on the Importance of Agriculture in the Pakistan Flood Response Plan



Why is agriculture so important to the Pakistan response plan following the recent floods?

The majority of the affected areas are home to small-holder subsistence farmers who are dependent on crop farming and livestock rearing for their livelihoods. Approximately 75% of farm households are involved in sheep, goat and cattle rearing. Women are traditionally responsible for the care of livestock.

Floodwaters have contaminated water sources and irrigation systems and ruined crops. In some areas 100% loss of crops has been estimated. Over half a million hectares of crops is estimated to have been destroyed in KPK and Punjab alone.

Stored grains and stocks of planting seeds and straw have been washed away. Maize, sorghum, millet crops grown for fodder has also been washed away or destroyed.

Tens of thousands of animals have perished and surviving livestock face acute feed shortages. More animals may die if immediate feed and veterinary support is not provided..


What information is available on crop damage and losses?

The Government of Pakistan estimates however that 7 000 sq km of crops have been washed away in Punjab and KPK alone (the over half million hectares referred to in the Pakistan Initial Field Response Plan). An estimated 80% of crop losses can be predicted in some of the most affected areas, especially where planted with cotton, rice, vegetables, sugar cane, tobacco and maize. This has an enormous impact on livelihoods.

The next planting season (Rabi) starting in mid September is when the major staple food crop wheat is grown. If the season is missed, the threat to food security increases dramatically, as planting cannot take place again until March-April. The September planting season therefore is not only critical for livelihoods of the affected families, but also for the food security of the region. The necessity of the timeliness of providing agricultural inputs therefore cannot be underestimated.

An Agriculture Cluster and FAO led needs assessment is ongoing in 5 flood affected districts in KPK and detailed information will be available by 13-14 August. Good estimates will also be available for Punjab and Sindh by then.

What information is available on livestock damage and losses?
Tens of thousands of livestock animals have also died and for the surviving animal, feed is not available. Animal fodder, mainly wheat straw, was already harvested before the floods and stored. The maize stover, used a dried winter fodder, was also lost. The loss of fodder due to the floods is therefore close to 100%.

Remaining animals will die in the coming days if vaccinations and feed are not made available, further undermining the livelihoods of families..



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