Horticulture losses in Swat
of the vegetable and fruit-rich Swat valley estimate that
the recent floods have inflicted ten times more losses than
those suffered by them during militancy and military
July is the peak season for various fruit and vegetables
produced in the valley which are known for their taste and
quality. The vegetable crops, fruit orchards and walnut
trees have been washed away or damaged by the devastating
Murad Ali Khan, president of Kissan Board Pakistan, Bakht
Biland, general secretary of Kisan Board Swat, and Muhammad
Naeem, president of Model Farm Services Centre Swat, were
unanimous that the region had suffered huge devastations
during the recent floods and windstorms. These would have
serious short, medium and long-term repercussions for the
“The losses to agriculture in Swat, according to our
estimates, during the militancy period were around Rs28
billion of which horticulture suffered around Rs14 billion.
From what we have come to know after getting feedback from
farmers in the area after the floods, the losses to farmers
are ten times more than those inflicted on us by years of
militancy. According to our estimates, around 60 per cent of
fruit and vegetable production has been lost to the floods,”
“Peaches that were at maturity stage have been washed away
or dropped to the ground in most of upper Swat. With
seemingly no hope of revival of communication infrastructure
in the area soon, the apple production about to start,
farmers may not find access to market and get wasted,” he
“I have lost paddy crop on 102 canals of my prime cultivable
land along with trees on the sides in Matta. Richer farmers
can afford the losses, but where will the poor amongst us
go. They need immediate relief before a vigorous plan for
their rehabilitation and recovery of irrigation and
agriculture is put in place,” he suggested.
The floods have destroyed most of the irrigation
infrastructure and it is feared that lack of irrigation
water will severely hit the farmers.
“Around 6,500 acres under rice cultivation have been
completely washed by floods in our area. It is and will not
be cultivable as the river has changed its course and is
flowing through these fields,” said Naeem.
“The crops that have remained safe will surely dry out soon
as no water will be available for them,” he added.
Naeem said they were still waiting for the compensation they
had been promised earlier. “The government, NGOs and the
world community will help us but the major concern should be
that the aid reaches the right people. “NGOs earlier had
helped but as responsible officials and departments such as
agriculture department and patwaris were not taken on board
and the aid didn’t reach the eligible people. This should be
guarded against this time,” he added.
“With no transportation is available and upper Swat areas
like Kabal, Matta, Kalam etc. remain cut off from rest of
the country due to land-slides. Fruits and vegetables that
will be ready this month must be transported out of Swat or
else they will be lost. This is unprecedented damage
requiring urgent restoration of at least temporary road and
bridge network,” said Khan.
To ensure food supplies, as a short term measure, the
government should put in place temporary and folding bridges
to restore transportation networks as soon as possible.
Supply of subsidised or free agriculture inputs and easy
loans to farmers also needs to be addressed.
Farmers take two to three crops from their fields
alternatively and earn their livelihood. Water-logging and
soil erosion caused by floods have deprived them of this
income for this year. This inability of farmers to cultivate
their fields and earn money would exacerbate their debt
Donors and government should ensure that agriculture losses
of the destitute farmers are rightly assessed and
compensated. Besides, the government should arrange for
tractors and other field levelling machinery for the
The soil erosion caused by floods has also created another
problem: that of demarcation of fields. Farmers had placed
stones as signs of demarcation to differentiate their farms.
These signs swept away by slides and gushing water in
several areas could cause problem of demarcation inflicting
more financial losses on farmers.
Courtesy: The DAWN