ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Floods in Pakistan have destroyed about 500,000 tonnes of wheat, meaning a smaller surplus for the country this year, and also hit sugar and cotton supplies, agriculture officials said on Thursday.
Flooding, which began two weeks ago on heavy rains, has also destroyed up to 2 million bales of cotton, industry officials said. Pakistan’s output of refined sugar could also fall by 500,000 tonnes because of damage to the crop from the floods, a farmer association said.
The floods have scoured Pakistan’s Indus river basin, killing more than 1,600 people, forcing 2 million from their homes and disrupting the lives of about 14 million people, or 8 percent of the population.
“Our estimate is that up to 500,000 tonnes of wheat stocked with the people has been washed away,” Ibrahim Mughal, president of a national farmer association told Reuters.
A Food Ministry officials said up to 600,000 tonnes of wheat had been damaged or destroyed in the floods.
The losses of wheat farmers had recently harvested would likely have to be made up from supplies in government stocks.
Pakistan, Asia’s third-largest wheat producer, harvested 23.80 million tonnes of wheat in the 2009/10 crop.
Along with a carryover stock of 4.22 million tonnes, it had stocks of more than 28 million tonnes.
Annual domestic demand is about 23 million tonnes.
Reporting by Augustine Anthony; Editing by Robert Birsel