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Deltaic growers in trouble due to persistent water shortage


KARACHI: Small growers of tail end areas of Thatta district have announced to assemble at the coastal village Thare Wari near Kharo Chhan on July 5, 2014 to discuss the water shortage, which has perished all the seasonal crops like banana, betel leaf, vegetables and paddy standing on hundreds of acres of land.
This was decided at a meeting held at Baghan Town, the last land route of the country, which attracted a large number of growers to share their problems and design effective future plan of action.
Growers complained they were facing acute water shortage, because of stoppage canal water by certain landlords, depriving the tail-enders of their share.
Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) spokesman said they were mobilising area growers to save their agriculture crops, the main traditional source of income of the communities. 
Gulab Shah a small grower from Keti Bunder and PFF local leader said farmers had lost their standing crops because of persistent shortage of water in canals. He predicted the farmers might not be able to cultivate their lands if the situation continued.
He said they have communicated the irrigation department officials, local legislators and the provincial authorities to look in to their problems, but all went in vain as nobody bothers to pay heed towards their grievances.
He said the meeting decided to motivate other farmers of Keti Bunder and Kharo Chhan to launch effective campaign to save their traditional agriculture through sensitisation of the government authorities.
He said they usually used to get water through River Indus and tributaries to cultivate their lands. But after a few years they are unable to receive a single drop through K B Feeder, which feeds the Keenjhar Lake and other agriculture areas, including those in Keti Bunder. 
He said the farmers wanted to shift their hands to the crops, which sustained on the less consumption of water, but they yet to initiate their minds. They cultivate banana, paddy, variety of vegetables and paan. Now not only the crops, human population and their livestock are also facing trouble due to water shortage in the entire areas. 
But after changes took place due to weather pattern change, the people are facing hardships, sometimes even they do not have two meals a day for their children.
PFF chairperson Mohammed Ali Shah said the sea erosion had already engulfed a large number of once flourishing villages near Keti Bunder and Kharo Chhan and the area had experienced widely migration. The reason was persistent water shortage and sea erosion. 
These areas used to supply vegetables, fruits, paan and dairy products to Karachi and other urban centres. But now even the farmer families themselves are facing trouble of food availability for their own consumption.   
He said the international water treaties suggested water as human right to all the people. The government of Pakistan should take the cry of these tail end deltaic people in to consideration and resolve the issue to avoid disaster of food shortage there, because these people depend on fishing, farming and animal rearing and facing the problem. 
The farmers said it might cause food insecurity in the wide area, which was already experiencing ups and downs in the sea. 

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