Sindh government has decided to exempt the Agricultural supply chains from the lock down against the Coronavirus epidemic due to demand for fertilizers, seeds and pesticides for the upcoming kharif season (April-June),
Sindh Minister for Agriculture Muhammad Ismail Rahoo told media that they took the decision on the appeal from farmers. However, he said that only registered shops and agents would be spared from the restrictions placed on the movement of people and goods.
He informed that directives have been given to the home department of Sindh in this matter.
The minister said that kharif season was about to begin in the province, and if agricultural supply chain was closed, major crops of the season, like cotton and paddy, would not be sown.
He noted that the restricting of agricultural supply chain would develop another crisis of food in country. The provincial minister advised all deputy commissioners and police officers not to get food shops closed during the day time.
Federal Ministry of National Food Security and Research advised all the provincial governments to exempt agricultural supply chain from the virus lock down through notification stated “It is requested that outlets/supply chain of agriculture inputs (pesticide/fertiliser/seed) may be exempted during the said lock down to confirm the timely availability of agriculture inputs and their application in the field”.
This will ensure food security in the country and to meet estimated production targets of all crops.
Leader of Sindh Chamber of Agriculture (SCA) Nisar Khaskhely said that the opening of the agricultural supply chain was a must, as vegetable rates had increased after the lock down. At the start of the lock down, trade was closed with Afghanistan and Iran, which affected the movement of fruits and vegetables.
He noted that crops were suffering from the supply chain disruption. Sugarcane is suffering from pest, it needs spray. Mango needs spray after flowering. It will be harvested in June.
Senior vice president, Sindh Abadgar Board Mehmood Nawaz Shah said that the lock down was affecting the growth of fruits and vegetables that needed spray amid pest attacks, but pesticide shops were closed.