PESHAWAR: Heavy downpour coupled with the severe hailstorm that lashed upper Swat district on Sunday night has wreaked havoc on the farming community by inflicting colossal damage to agriculture produces estimated to be around Rs.7 billion.
A research report of Agriculture Department found that the inclement rain and hailstorm has completely damaged orchids of peach, plum, apricot, permission besides fields of wheat, onion and other crops.
“The Agriculture Department survey has made an assessment of Rs. Seven billion losses to the farming community of the district” disclosed Adalat Khan, an official of Agriculture Department Swat district.
Talking to APP, Adalat Khan informed that heavy downpour and severe hail storm badly damaged agricultural crop of the district on June 13, last.
On receiving reports about damage to produce, the Agriculture Department decided to hold a survey and make an assessment about the damage.
The initial survey found enormous damage to the farming community of the district who is totally dependent on this seasonal base earnings.
The rain and hail storm was received in eleven union councils of Tehsil Matta, three union councils of Khawza Khela, and two UCs of Charbagh Tehsil.
Adalant Khan apprised that in Swat the value of total agriculture produces on annual basis is estimated at around Rs. 12 billion.
However, this year’s erratic rains damaged more than half of the agriculture produce, reducing the annual volume of yield to Rs. Five billion and inflicting major cut on farmer’s earnings.
It merits a mention here that last year around 60 percent of peach fruit in the Swat district was decimated due to climatic changes in the shape of unusual severe rains and hailstorms during the flowering season of the fruit from February to March and early April.
“Colorful peach produced in Swat accounts for 80 percent of the production of the fruit in Pakistan,” claims Dr. Muhammad Ayaz, Director Agriculture Institute Swat.
Apart from peach, Swat is also famous for the production of apple, plum, apricot, and persimmon, Dr. Ayaz added.
About 70 percent of the total 2.4 million population of Swat is associated with farming and such climatic changes causing erratic rains and severe hail storms are badly impacting the annual earnings besides livelihood of people of Swat, Ayaz added.