Karachi, August 28, 2022: Fertilizer sector offtake is expected to take a noticeable hit due to the flash floods as submerged cotton and rice growing regions will have lower demand for fertilizers in Sindh.
Primary agricultural infrastructure of farmers like tube-wells, storages, seed stocks/fertilizer inventory, various agriculture machinery and equipment – all have faced damages.
These losses would result in reducing farmer income considerably. DAP, which has already been out of reach of farmers amid rising prices, will face the most impact as wheat sowing will be pushed as farmers await still water reservoirs on their lands to evaporate and/or be naturally soaked in land, a process that may take a couple of months.
There are two growing seasons in Pakistan. The first sowing season, or “Kharif,” runs from April to June and ends with harvest in December. Rice, sugarcane, cotton, maize, moong, mash, bajra, and jowar make up the majority of this season’s agricultural cycle.
The second season, “Rabi’s” sowing takes place from October to December, while harvesting takes place from April to May. Wheat, lentil, tobacco, rapeseed, barley, and mustard make up the majority of this cycle’s crops.
The amount of plant-available nutrients in the soil might change considerably as a result of flooding. For instance, important organic materials and nutrients required by plants may be washed away with the soil during erosion.
Flood sediment build-up may result in higher soil concentrations of nitrogen, phosphate, silicon, and potassium. This excessively higher concentration of nutrients is likely to damage the crops and reduce yield to a great extent.
The five major crops – wheat, cotton, sugar cane, rice and maize account for about 90% of fertilizer consumption. Wheat has a 50% share followed by cotton with a share of 25%. Sugar-cane is the third crop but nutrient/hectare is the highest on this crop.
Against average annual rainfall of 125mm, the ongoing season has received 3x more rains so far this season. Sindh and Balochistan have reportedly received the most damage with 5x – 6x more rains as compared to their respective annual averages, and higher than the magnitude recorded during flash floods of 2010-2011 for these provinces.
This has severely impacted lives, health, animals, crops, infrastructure and more. Sindh and Balochistan have 30%/8% share in the agricultural GDP, respectively.