Tayyab Muhammadzai

Flood affected farmers of Charsadda district have questioned the seed distribution in the area and alleging several people who were not farmers were provided with seeds in the process.

Agriculture department, district administration and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) had conducted a survey of damaged land holdings. FAO had approved provision of seeds and fertilizer to about 4000 farmers; however, when it came to actual distribution of seeds, many of the affected farmers questioned the transparency of the process.

The distribution took place at a local’s hujra in Khyali area wherein seeds and fertilizers were distributed among 1900 farmers. However, later it turned out that many of those who received seed and fertilizer even did not owned a marla of land while many of the farmers owning several acres of land were left out of process.

When the protesting farmers approached the agriculture department, they came to know the names many of affected farmers provided by the department to the FAO were left out of the list. In addition to this, seeds meant for many farmers whose names were on the list as well their tokens for the lists were also mysteriously lost.

On the other hand, those non-farmers who received seeds and fertilizers sold whatever they received to other farmers at the spot.

Interestingly, agriculture department’s district office, later alerted those farmers who were either left out the survey of distribution to through media about another distribution of seed, donated by the World Food Programme (WFP), wherein Charsadda district had received 1600 bags of seeds.

However, this time around, agriculture department demanded details of agricultural land holdings, to be eligible to receive seeds, which brought transparency in the process.

In addition to this, farmers also questioned the surveys and alleging they were not properly carried out as many people who neither owned an inch of land nor tilling lands as tenants.

Interestingly, Sardaraz Khan, a leading landowner in Khyali area in whose hujra, the distribution had taken place was also not given seeds. He also joined the protesting farmers; however, their pleas fell on deaf ears.

The farmers are now demanding a transparent survey so that the deserving farmers are not denied of their due right. On the other hand, agriculture department data shows that floods destroyed crops standing over 13,000 acres of land, causing damages worth billions of rupees.

On the other hand, farmers are also facing other issues besides irregularities in distribution of seeds and fertilizers.

Besides, destroying crops and orchids, floods have badly affected the level of the agriculture land and now farmers finding it difficult to re-level the crops.

The farmers are now looking to government for leveling of the affected tracts of land.  At the same time, farmers are also not happy with Rs 10,000 per compensation, government has announced to damages; however, district administration has proposed Rs 30,000 per acre for losses.

Similarly, the floods has also filled the irrigation channels with mud, made it difficult for farmers to irrigate their lands. Farmers in many parts of the district are trying to restore these channels on their own.

Besides, Munda headwork, flood has badly affected the water channels on both bank of River Swat as many farmers of Sholgara and Doaba areas have dug up canals to irrigate thousands of acres of land in the area. The raging torrents of river have filled these channels with slit and mud and clearing them now requires spending of tens of hundreds of rupees, which the farmers are unable to bear.

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