Regional

Frequent natural calamities cause declining livestock population in Badin

By: Sawan Khaskheli

TANDOJAM: Livestock farmers in Badin district have pointed out that the population of animals is declining because of facing disasters one after another. Badin district once was prosperous in terms of producing variety of food and cash crops, now has been declared disaster prone area, experiencing floods, cyclones and droughts.
Akbar Qambrani, a community activist sharing observations said, besides natural disasters, the people residing close to faulty Left Bank Outfall Drainage (LBOD) always experience man-made adversity during the monsoon seasons.
During the monsoon seasons the LBOD carries water from its long route to the sea, the high tides push the water back, causing breaches to the mega drainage. The breaches always inundate wide agriculture area, causing destruction and displacement of the communities.
He also pointed out that the sea intrusion has also destroyed fertile lands, compelling people to migrate to safer places. In this situation, when there is no green pasture is left for rearing animals how people can keep animals to maintain nutrition need to the minor children.
Manzoor Nohrio, another community farmer said frequent natural disasters caused death of animals, a main source of livelihood for coastal communities. After seeing destruction and displacement most of families have sold out their remaining assets (animals) for survival.
The activist were sharing experiences at the workshop for community livestock extension workers (CLEW) organized by Laar Humanitarian Development Programme (LHDP) at the Sindh Agriculture University, aiming to produce trained workers to help farmers in the difficult time to save their animals.
The participants hailing from different villages situated in the area, which are vulnerable to face floods, drought, cyclones and sea intrusion. They said major chunk of fertile land has turned into barren land due to disasters, where agriculture farmers and herders are fighting war of survival.
Iqbal Haider, leading LHDP urged upon Clews to learn for serving in their areas. Livestock extension workers can be major source to cure animals in difficult time, he added.
Sharing his experience, Haider said “I have witnessed floods due to breaches in LBOD, which has caused loss of animals, agriculture crops and damaging infrastructure.”
“I know how these people had to invest more to rehabilitate their families every time. But these people are still vulnerable, receiving warning alerts due to cyclones, floods and drought,” he said.
In this situation, he expressed the hope that these community livestock extension workers may play laudable role to help herders timely and save their assets.
Prof Muhammad Ismail Kumbhar of Sindh Agriculture University, who leads training team, said they teach these livestock workers about vaccination, minor surgery and treatment to all animals in fields and makeshift farms.
He said the government livestock department needs such trained cadre for vaccination drive to save animals in difficult times. He said that talented cadre may join government department as livestock assistant to fill the gap.
Abdullah Saraz, also associated with LHDP and belongs to the area, said you may observe the situation when visiting remote villages in coastal areas, where once the people used to keep herds of animals and lived prosperous life. But now the community people use milk packs for making tea to refresh themselves and their children.
The village people may be capable to narrate the situation when they have spent prosperous life and now are experiencing adversities in different forms. Some areas used to produce wheat, rice, tomato, chilli and variety of vegetables now can be seen wearing desert look all around.
He said livestock is said to be the major source of livelihood after agriculture, but now the communities in Badin district are experiencing difficulties to keep animals. This requires more cost to manage fodder, safe water and environment, which many people cannot afford.
There is only one animals’ hospital, situated near the famous Bhugra Memon neihghbourhood, aiming to help farmers. But irony is that the center is deserted due to less importance at government level.

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