ISLAMABAD, Aug 23 Floods in Pakistan have destroyed or extensively damaged crops over 4.25 million acres (1.72 mln hectares) of land, Food Minister Nazar Muhammad Gondal said on Monday.
The total areas under cultivation is about 23 million hectares, food ministry officials say.
"The floods have destroyed or extensively damaged crops, including cotton, rice, sugarcane, maize and others over an area of 4.25 million acres," he told Reuters.
According to an estimated breakdown of losses prepared by the food ministry, rice was the worst hit with an area of 1.51 million acres (614,157 hectares) destroyed by the floods. Industry officials say that translates into a loss of 1.5 million tonnes of rice.
Less output means Pakistan will have a smaller surplus for exports.
Pakistan had a bumper crop of 6.7 million tonnes of milled rice in 2009/10 and exported about 4.5 million tonnes, traders say.
But a U.S. Department of Agriculture attache in Pakistan said in a report this month that the country exported 3.75 million tonnes of rice in 2009/10. (Reporting by Augustine Anthony; Editing by Michael Georgy) (E-mail: email@example.com; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org; Islamabad newsroom: +92 51 281 0017))
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