Farmers demand relief as heatwave destroys crops

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LAHORE: The government should write off loans, disburse financial or other assistance to farmers from the heatwave hit areas, demands Dr Zafar Hayyat, president of the Farmers Bureau of Pakistan (FBP).

While talking to journalists on Friday, he called upon the government to declare emergency in areas affected by extreme weather conditions and document the tentative losses incurred by farmers due to destruction of corn, cotton and rice crops.

“This should include per acre financial aid, special subsidy on fertilizer and seed for the next crops, waiving off abiyana (water rate) and theka (lease) and loans on soft terms or preferred rates for the next rabi crop,” Hayat said.

He lamented that the entire agriculture sector of Pakistan was badly affected by the heat wave, which started around the end of August and continued till mid-September 2019. According to Hayyat, south Punjab was hit the worst throughout Pakistan.

He said the farmers tried their best to overcome the issues but falling prices of cotton and no timely policy intervention by the government discouraged them to spend more on their ailing crop, resulting in further loss to national cotton production.

“Unfortunately, no scientific impact analysis has been done so far by the concerned departments and no measures or policies have been announced for the affected areas by the government,” he said.

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