KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has directed all divisional commissioners to ensure implementation of complete ban on Rice Cultivation on perennial canals so that the area could be saved from water-logging, salinity and seepage.
This he said while presiding over a high-level meeting here at Chief Minister House, said a statement on Friday.
The chief minister said that the cultivation of rice on perennial canals such as Ghotki Feeder, Rohri Canal and Nara Canal was causing water logging, salinity, seepage and damage to land. He said that a notification on this had already been issued.
He said that rice was a high delta crop with water requirement of 70-acres inches compared to cotton and other Kharif crops.
He further said that water requirement for cotton crop was 36-acre inches compared to cotton crop the rice cultivation need about 94 percent more irrigation water for one acre.
It was pointed out in the meeting that North-Western canal and Dadu canal were designed for dry crops but cultivation of rice had been allowed there for food security.
The chief minister directed Commissioner Hyderabad Abbas Baloch to talk to the growers of Dadu Canal and convince them to switch over to low delta crops.
This is the time they have to switch over to low delta and high yield crops due to water shortage and water-logging issue, he said.
It was pointed out that cotton sowing in Sindh starts in May and rice cultivation starts in June, the chief minister directed the Irrigation department to release water to the perennial canals in May so that they start sowing cotton.
If water supplies are delayed then the growers would opt for rice, he added.
The chief minister constituted a committee of Irrigation, Agriculture and Revenue Departments’ Secretaries to work out a detailed plan for release of irrigational water and launch a drive to convince growers to switch over to low delta crops.
Moreover, the Agriculture Department was directed to guide and facilitate the growers for switching over to other crops.
It may be noted that rice is the second largest cereal crop of Sindh in terms of area and production. Sindh contributes 23.6 percent in area and 38 percent in production of rice at national level.
The meeting was specially attended by MNA Khursheed Shah while Agriculture Minister Ismail Rahu, Irrigation Minister Nasir Shah, Special Assistant to Chife Minister Ashfaq Memon, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Sajid Jamal Abro, Secretary Irrigation Jamal Shah, Secretary Agriculture Special, Special Secretary Irrigation Aslam Ansari and Commissioner Karachi Iftikhar Shahlwani were also present.