Drought; Rainwater Harvests Decreased by 80% in Balkh
Officials at the Balkh Department of Agriculture and Livestock say that due to the lack of rainfall this year, there have been 80% decrease in harvests through rainfall (Lalmi) and 40% decrease in harvests through irrigation (Aabi). Balkh produces more than 210,000 metric tons of wheat annually, but drought and climate change have been cited as the main reasons for the decline in wheat products in Balkh this year.
Mohammad Salem Saei, director of agriculture in Balkh province, blames drought and lack of sufficient rainfall for the lack of wheat in the province.
Speaking to 8 Subh, Mr. Saei said: “Climate change has caused the amount of annual rainfall to decrease and Balkh province to be severely affected. We were supposed to get more than 215,000 metric tons of wheat from 85,000 hectares of Lalmi land, which currently shows, given the condition of the farm, that there is a 40% reduction in harvests.”
“If it were raining, we could expect more than 95,000 metric tons of wheat from 65,000 hectares of land, but unfortunately, our Lalmi harvests have also dropped by more than 80%,” Mr. Saei said.
However, Balkhi farmers say that in addition to climate change and a lack of rainfall, plant pests have also led to a decline in wheat harvests.
Balkh has 85,000 hectares of Lalmi land and 65,000 hectares of Aabi land for wheat cultivation, but drought and climate change have caused the most financial losses to the province’s farmers this year.
Mohammad Bashir cultivates wheat in Dehdadi district of Balkh province, but he is not satisfied with this year’s harvest as it is lower than in previous years. He told 8 Subh that “because this year the weather was cold and there was no rain, the harvests are low. Although Lalmi harvests are higher than Aabi, because there was no rainfall, Lalmi harvests have decreased.”
Mohammad Waseem, another farmer in Balkh province, told 8 Subh that the harvest was very low this year. According to him, the decrease in rainfall and plant pests has caused them to get less crops from their fields. He called on the government to help and distribute improved seeds.
These farmers are asking the government to provide them with advanced training and agricultural facilities so that they can get more from less fertile land.
Officials at the Balkh Department of Agriculture say large quantities of improved seeds are distributed to farmers in Balkh every year, but a lack of rainfall is one of the main reasons for the decline in wheat harvests. “Last year, we assisted more than 25,000 farmers, to whom different types of seeds were distributed, and this year we are trying to assist them,” said Mohammad Salem Saei, director of agriculture in Balkh.
Most wheat is grown in Balkh, Dawlatabad, Chahar Bolak, Chamtal, Nahrshahi, Shulgara and Dehdadi districts of Balkh province.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock has announced that the amount of wheat production in the country during the current year will decrease by 24% compared to last year. According to the ministry’s forecasts, more than four million tons of wheat will be produced in the country this year. This amount of wheat shows a 24% decrease compared to last year’s production.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the drought has had a profound effect on wheat production in the country. According to the ministry, Lalmi wheat production will be reduced by 62% this year and Aabi wheat production by 3% this year.
The Ministry of Agriculture also calls the impact of drought on livestock in most provinces of the country harmful. According to the ministry, the Ministry of Agriculture has made regular plans to provide fodder for livestock this year.
It is noteworthy that the drought threatens agriculture and livestock in the country, where the amount of snowfall decreased significantly last winter.
According to environmental experts, drought is a direct consequence of climate change, and Afghanistan will face this challenge for years to come.