Check out our FREE food commodity markets bulletin service - AGRIMARKETS - market analysis, prices and daily commentary @Agrimarkets

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Muzzafarghar, South Punjab - the photo may not look much, but closer examination will show the extent of the damage done by recent floods in Pakistan, particularly in this area which is at the confluence of the Indus and Chenab Rivers. In the foreground is a field of what was cotton, completely destroyed with a huge impact on Pakistan's textile sector that depends on local supplies. Further back, one can see a mango orchard that has been waterlogged, severely damaging the roots; next year's harvest is expected to be low and many trees themselves have died. All the other crops in this areas, including rice and maize have been lost. Many livestock have died or are starving because fodder crops have vanished and there is a shortage of milk.

GQB is in the flood affected area helping a client plan an agricultural recovery and reconstruction project. There is a critical need to immediately intervene with land reclamation, reconstruction of water ways (ironically lack of irrigation because the flood destroyed tertiary canals is likely to be a problem) and the provision of seeds for planting the Rabi (winter) wheat crop. The project, budgeted at $50 million for USAID, will provide a cash-for-work component that will immediately inject liquidity into the local economy and start repairing the damage. A voucher-based distribution of seeds, fertilizers and hand tools will give the farmers the basics of what they need to get going again. The project will cover 12 of the worst-affected districts in lower Punjab and in Sindh which remains inundated. Unless action is taken very soon, what was a natural disaster will turn into a very human one, with food shortages added to the misery of an estimated 20 million people in these areas.