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Water scarcity sparks fears of decline in wheat yield


Water scarcity sparks fears of decline in wheat yield

Feb 03, 2018 - 15:08

MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Farmers in northern Balkh province are concerned at inadequate snowfall this year, fearing that continued drought will damage their crops.

In most parts of northern Afghanistan, including Balkh, the time for crop cultivation on rain-fed land is over, they say. More snowfall and rains are unlikely, the growers believe.

Haji Abdul Qayyum, a farmer from the Chamtal district, told Pajhwok Afghan News Balkh always faced a shortage of water. Both rain-fed and irrigated lands in the province need rains and snowfall.

“No, it was not enough this time around. In the past, it would snow every winter four or five times. But this year, the snowfall has been scant,” he said, referring to the wet spell at the weekend in Balkh. 

Mohammad Anwar, hailing from Char-Bulak district, said the time for wheat cultivation on rain-fed land was over. Future snow and rainfall, therefore, would not be beneficial for rge crop, he argued.

“Wheat on rain-fed farms should have been cultivated earlier. When the weather gets hotter, plants should have grown up,” he said, adding farmers were worried about a decline in yield.

Agriculture Director Sirajuddin Mehraban confirmed to Pajhwok the wheat cultivated on rain-fed land in Balkh had not germinated yet. He said they were still expecting rain and snowfall.

More rains and snowfall would prepare the ground for spring crops, the official thought, saying Balkh needed 400 cubic metres of water per second. Currently 34 cubic metres of water were provided in a second.

He termed the water shortage a big issue, stressing the need for government help in dealing with the situation.