The Natural Disasters Consortium (NDC) comprised of IoM, FAO, UNICEF, ACTED and HANDS conducted Sindh Drought Needs Assessment (SDNA) in eight districts of Sindh, namely, Tharparkar, Umerkot, Sanghar, Thatta, Badin, Jamshoro, Dadu and Kambar Shahdadkot. The World Food Programme (WFP) and World Health Organization (WHO) also provided technical support for the assessment. The detailed assessment was conducted to assess the impact of the drought on agriculture (crop cultivation, production, water availability and livestock), livelihoods and food security, access to water and sanitation and hygiene practices of the households and communities and to provide recommendations to the Government of Sindh, NDC partners, and other decision/policy makers to prioritize actions (short, medium and long term) in relevant sectors and geographic areas to address immediate needs, build back better and increase future resilience to drought.
The assessment used both quantitative and qualitative data. The data was collected from 1,229 households located in 69 sampled drought notified revenue villages (Dehs) of the eight districts.
On average, the surveyed households in the drought areas own 3.1 acres of land whereas they cultivate on average of 2.8 acres only. Of the surveyed households, 42% own cultivable agricultural land, whereas 53% cultivate land.
Compared to 2016-17 seasons, cultivation area (measured in acres) for wheat reduced by 17% in 2017-18, rice by 70%, cotton by 16%, cluster beans by 30%, millet by 38% and pulses by 45%.
Compared with the 2016-17 agricultural season, overall crop production (measured in maunds) for wheat reduced by 23%, sorghum by 33%, rice by 35%, cotton by 18%, cluster beans, millet and sesame each by 83% and pulses by 95%.
Own production of cereals for household consumption was only sufficient for about 2.8 months.
Overall, 50% of farming households reported water not being available at all compared to last year (2017) for agriculture, 30% reported less water availability, 7% reported water availability to some extent, while 13% reported less/no shortage of water. Water scarcity is more severe in desert/arid areas.
The three major problems faced by farming households as they reported are: lack of water for crop cultivation, lack of access to high yielding variety seeds and lack of access to fertilizer. The farming households indicated the need for irrigation water, quality seeds, fertilizer, new irrigation system, agricultural services and tools and credit to enhance crop production. 87% of surveyed households currently own livestock and 14% own poultry. 32% of the surveyed households currently own cattle, 12% own buffaloes, 69% own goats, 12% own sheep, 9% own camels, 21% own donkeys and 11% of surveyed households own poultry The current episode of drought has adversely affected the livestock population. Of the surveyed households who own livestock, 25% reported deaths of cattle during the past six months, 54% reported deaths of goats, deaths of sheep by 45%, deaths of buffaloes by 21%, deaths of camels by 20%, donkeys by 18%, whereas 57% reported deaths of poultry.
The surveyed households also reported sale of livestock/poultry to meet their food and other household needs (normal sale) and also due to occurrence/risk of disease, lack of water and fodder for livestock (distress sale). Overall, 40% of the surveyed households that keep livestock sold one or more cattle during the past six months, 31% sold one or more buffaloes, 65% sold goats, 55% sold sheep, 13% sold camels, and 7% sold donkeys and 29% sold poultry.
The main reasons for deaths of livestock reported by surveyed households are lack of fodder, livestock diseases and lack of water. The main problems reported by livestock holders are lack of fodder for animals reported by 96% of surveyed livestock holders, 89% reported lack of drinking water, 83% reported livestock diseases and 53% reported lack of shelter for animals. The top four items/supports required by livestock owners (in order of importance) are: straw/green fodder (reported by 93% livestock holders), drinking water (by 83%), vaccines/medicines (by 67%) and concentrated feed (by 35%).
Household Sources of Livelihoods/Income
The primary sources of livelihood/income of surveyed households include non-agricultural wage labor, followed by sale of agriculture produce (sale of food /cash crops/vegetables/fruits), and sale of livestock/livestock products. Agricultural wage labor as primary/secondary source of livelihood slightly increased in non-desert/arid areas whereas it reduced in desert/arid areas. Sale of agricultural produce reduced over six months preceding the survey, particularly more in desert/arid areas. Average monthly income of surveyed households from all income sources was PKR 10, 581 six months ago, whereas it was PKR 9,401 at the time of survey; hence, a reduction of 11%.
Food Consumption The surveyed households are spending a major proportion of their income on food purchases and compromising on other basic needs (health care, education, others). Overall, 36% of the surveyed households spend a very high share (more than 75% of the total household expenditure) on acquiring food, while 31% spend a high share (65-75% of the total expenditure) on food. The majority of the surveyed households had either ‘poor’ or ‘borderline’ food consumption; 18% of households have ‘acceptable food consumption’, 41% have ‘poor consumption’ and another 41% have ‘borderline.
About 45% of the surveyed households travel within 10 km to buy food and non-food items from the nearest markets, 24% travel between 10 to 20 km, while 31% travel more than 20.
Prevalence of food insecurity based on Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES) was quite high as 71% of the surveyed households are moderately or severely food insecure, whereas 32% are severely food insecure. Prevalence of food insecurity is higher among households in desert/arid areas and women headed households compared with households in non-desert/arid areas and men headed households.
The food security prevalence based on Consolidated Approach to Reporting Indicators of Food Security (CARI) shows that 46% of the surveyed households are moderately food insecure, whereas 36% are severely food insecure.
Migration Overall 15% of the surveyed households reported migration of their members at some point during the last 6 months; 10% of the households performed routine seasonal migration whereas only 5% migrated due to the prevailing drought in Sindh.
Health and Nutrition Access to healthcare is a critical issue in the surveyed districts. The surveyed households cited challenges such as long distances to healthcare providers, high cost of services and poor infrastructure. On average, the surveyed households reported travelling 19.8 kms to access healthcare. Morbidity among PLW and children under the age of 5 is very high in the surveyed households. A key finding was the prevalence rate for acute malnutrition among children aged 0-59 months, which was at a critical level in almost all drought affected districts except Dadu. Approximately 0.4 million children under five in eight districts are acutely malnourished and need emergency lifesaving nutrition interventions (CMAM).
Housing, Water and Sanitation
Most of the surveyed households live in “Katcha Houses” (40%), followed by “Chora” (34%), “Semi Pakka” (12%), “Pakka” (9%), and wooden houses (2%). Most of the surveyed households have one room (54%) house followed by two rooms (31%) and three rooms (10%).
Around three-fourths of the surveyed population had access to improved water sources, with 28% forced to rely on unimproved sources of drinking water. Lack of drinking water for livestock has also been reported as a critical issue. Majority of households from all districts except Badin walked over 30 minutes to access unsafe drinking water. More than four-fifths of surveyed population had no access to a household toilet and practice open defecation.
Recommendations Agriculture (Crops Sector)
- Support farmers by providing drought resistant agricultural inputs and promotion of climate smart agriculture. Specifically, provide drought resistant seed (cereals, pulses, legumes, vegetables and fodder), fruit plants and shrubs.
Introduction and up scaling of innovative and proven agricultural techniques including; bio-saline agriculture, soil management through proper fertilization, no-till, crop rotation, seed banks establishment, strip farming and mulching.
Capacity building of farmers through Farmers Field Schools (FFS), Junior Farmer Field Schools (JFFS), Farmers Business School (FBS) and Women Open Schools (WoS).
Livestock Protection and Management interventions including; supply of fodder, feed, fodder seed, water and animal health camps by engaging the services of all technical agencies and the concerned line department.
Setting up of temporary and permanent mandies (markets) for feed, fodder and animals considering de-stocking/relocation perspectives as well.
Re-stocking of livestock to rebuild the livestock-based livelihood and provision of livestock shelters to the extremely vulnerable individuals once emergency is over.
Trainings on livestock and poultry rearing, Livestock Farmer Field Schools (LFFS), LEGS training and provision.
Initiation of water conservation practices through the rehabilitation of water structures for both agriculture and human consumption at feasible locations in order be ready before the next Monsoon season i.e. July-August, to capture maximum run-off water.
Repair and rehabilitation of existing dug-wells, tarai, tobas. Provide alternative sources of lowsalinity water; either through new wells, treatment of low-quality water or providing water from outside the drought-affected region is critical for agriculture.
Conserve rainwater by checking surface run offs through structural mitigation measures and introduction of micro-irrigation systems.
Trainings on kitchen gardening, diet diversity, food processing and food safety
Regular monitoring of food security, nutrition and livelihoods through seasonal surveys such as Livelihood and Food Security Assessment (LFSA)
**Health and Nutrition--
Establishment of vaccination camps in drought affected areas
Utilize kitchen gardening as a nutrition sensitive agriculture intervention
More focus should be attained on community-based nutrition services as accessibility to health facility is identified as a core issue
Coverage assessment (SQUEC/SLEAC) of existing CMAM services is recommended to understand the programmatic and geographical coverage with its effectiveness Wash and Sanitation
Increase access to improved sources of water for the highly vulnerable areas and priority affected districts/talukas through the repair/rehabilitation of non-functional water supply systems and water treatment plants
Investment in the establishment of operation and maintenance systems that are community and/or local government owned as relevant and that address long-term sustainability
Health and hygiene messages, including the importance of hand washing at critical times and the use of various household water treatment options, should form part of integrated into health and nutrition interventions in affected areas
Sanitation, the access to household level toilets, should continue to be addressed through longterm development programs aimed at eradicating open defecation