The Sindh Chamber of Agriculture (SCA) has requested the federal government on Sunday to declare Sindh province a calamity-hit due to an acute shortage of water for the last six months and less rains, which caused severe agricultural devastation. Reportedly, SCA president Qabool Muhammad Khatian held a video conference with several SCA members from Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Ghotki and Mirpurkhas. He observed that about 80 percent of 12.7 million acres of the command area of all three barrages including Guddu, Sukkur and Kotri had been heavily affected due to water scarcity. “Hot, dry and windy conditions resulted in poor soil moisture levels, which dried the soil profile of 9 million acres of cultivated crops,” he observed. The conference further reported that cultivated crops included 21-lakh acres paddy crop, 17-lakh acres sugarcane, 14-lakh acres cotton and 38-lakh acres wheat, banana and other crops. The SCA representatives expressed profound concerns over the situation and demanded an exemption from land revenue, water charges, and usher and agriculture loans. They said that the next season of sugarcane crop was to begin in November 2018, and in this regard demanded sugar mills to initiate crushing season from the first week of November and that the support price of sugarcane be fixed at Rs 250 per 40 kilos. They criticised a sudden increase in gas, power and fertilizer prices and appealed to the federal government for relief. Published in Daily Times, September 10th 2018.