Pakistan: Rains damage millions of tons of wheat in Sindh
KARACHI: A huge quantity of recently procured wheat has been damaged during recent rains in many parts of the province, while quality of the grain packed in polymer bags is eroding, causing financial loss to the government.
Heavy rains in the wake of recent cyclone, which hit coastal areas of Badin and Thatta districts, damaged millions of tons of wheat lying in the open.
The estimates of losses projected by the food department are Rs390 million, officials, however, admitted that actual losses may be more.
It is learnt that about six million tons of wheat packed in bags were still lying in the open due to the inadequate storage facilities.
This year the provincial food department achieved 1.5 million tons wheat procurement target.
An official in the food department said that around half of the recently procured wheat was still lying in the open at different procurement centres because the government's storage capacity stands at 0.6-0.7 million tons. Aftab Memon, director of provincial food department, puts figure of damaged wheat bags at 180,000.
More monsoon rains are expected in July and August this year in the province, which may further damage the wheat recently procured if arrangements were not made for its safe storage.
Sindh Food Department was given 1.5 million tons wheat procurement target this year, but it faced serious shortage of gunny bags, said Naveed K Baloch, provincial food secretary.
Around 1.5 million gunny bags were required by the provincial department to achieve the wheat buying target, but only 1.1-1.2 million gunny bags could be made available.
In different areas of Sanghar, Dadu, Nawabshah, Larkana, Khairpur and districts hundreds of polymer bags of wheat lying in the open are tearing up due to sizzling heat eroding the quality.