The dry spell in Sindh’s Tharparkar district — which has been ongoing over the last three years (2012-2014) — continues to deprive local growers of their main crops: cluster beans and millet.
And the prolonged drought conditions have forced different community groups, especially those who maintain small landholdings and family livestock, to migrate to neighbouring areas in search of livelihood.
Three seasonal rains are required by areas in Thar between May and July, with the first spell of monsoon rains ideally expected in May.
Cluster bean is a cash crop with bright export prospects. Its current market price varies between Rs2,000-2,200 per 40kg. Millet is sold for Rs1,100-1,200 per 40kg.
He says the government needs to take the initiative to promote the use of both surface and groundwater by small landowners. This can eventually turn things around for the arid region’s agro-economy. If farmers get reasonable cash flow from selling their crop, they can be enabled to fight the drought conditions, hence avoiding the need for them to migrate, he adds.