Climate Change

Climate change and agriculture

Pakistan lies in arid and semi-arid region and is facing rising temperatures. This increase in temperature will cause severe impacts. Pakistan is an agriculture based country but it is on decline and farmers’ inclination towards agriculture is not the same as it was a decade ago.

Climate change has potential impacts on agriculture but the farming community is not even aware of it.Agriculture is the backbone of Pakistan’s economy. It contributes 21 percent to the GDP of the country. Almost 67 percent of the population is involved directly or indirectly with agriculture.

The livelihood of theses farming communities depends on agriculture but it is characterised as a relatively risky business. Therefore, it affects the interests of farming communities.

The major risks in agriculture caused by different internal and external factors are classified as the production, marketing and financial risks.

Whereas the major reasons for low productivity and reliability of farm income include the non-availability of improved seeds, fertilisers used, weed infestation, shortage of irrigation water, drought and seasonal variation of rainfall, inadequate research efforts and inefficient extension services with respect to many agricultural crops.

(Ashraf et al, 1999, Ashfaq et al, 2003 and Ashraf, 2004) Most common practices for low productivity are crop intensification, mono-cropping and conventional soil management practices.

Pakistan lies in arid and semi-arid region and is facing rising temperatures. This increase in temperature will cause severe impacts.

Pakistan is an agriculture based country but it is on decline and farmers’ inclination towards agriculture is not the same as it was a decade ago. Climate change has potential impacts on agriculture but the farming community is not even aware of it.

They don’t know that cropping pattern may face drastic changes in the coming 20-30 years because of rising temperatures. We could see a 30 percent loss of production due to climate change.

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Farmers are still following traditional methods of farming.

In this regard a project will be launched in different ecological zones of Punjab.

Three ecological zones (Cotton Zone, Rice Zone and Arid Zone) will be selected to explore the effects of climate change on the farming communities and farmers’ concern toward climate change.

Findings of this project will be helpful in formulating policies, especially for farming communities living in these ecological zones.

The effects of global climate change in Pakistan are already evident in the form of growing frequency of droughts and flooding, increasingly erratic weather behaviour, changes in agricultural patterns, reduction in freshwater supply and the loss of biodiversity.

In short, climate change could hinder the achievement of many of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including those of poverty eradication, child mortality, malaria, and other diseases, and environmental sustainability.

Much of this damage would come in the form of severe economic shocks. Therefore, mitigating and adapting actions are considered to be the two key ways of combating climate change.

Almost 50 percent of the land area of Pakistan is at the risk of getting affected just because of climate change.

Pakistani Himalayan glaciers that feed almost seven great Asian rivers are getting affected by the changing climate. These glaciers are expected to completely melt down in the coming 50 years.

The developing countries are the ones that are most vulnerable to the environmental, social and economic impacts of climate change. This is mostly due to their geographical location and socio-economic fragility.

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The adverse effects and impacts of climate change on the agricultural sector of Pakistan could cause havoc in the country.

The recent floods have caused a loss of 2.6 million acres of land resources whereas the wheat yields are estimated to decline by 6 to 9 percent and have given rise to food inflation.

As the industrial sector of Pakistan depends upon the agricultural sector, these climate changes have a direct effect on the economy of Pakistan.

By:     Fareeha Zafa,  Farooq Ahmad
Source: Pakistan Today

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