Climate Change Vulnerabilities in Agriculture in Pakistan

Pakistan is an agriculture-dependent country, with over 47% of its population earning their livelihood from agriculture. This sector contributes 24% to GDP. The Indus Valley, which is the cradle of Pakistan’s agriculture, is presently threatened by the vagaries of Climate Change, largely induced through anthropogenic interventions that result in global warming. While higher concentrations of carbon dioxide can have beneficial impacts on crops, rising temperatures and reduced precipitation play havoc with the biological complex.

Climate Change Scenario: 

Temperatures are predicted to rise by 3 degrees by 2040 and up to 5 to 6 degrees by the end of the century. Monsoon rains will be drastically reduced but have a much higher intensity. Droughts and floods are predicted for the whole of South Asia.One of the biggest issues related to climate change is food security. Farmers are being hit hardest by higher temperatures and an increasing frequency in weather related disasters. World food day is celebrated on 16th of October every year. Major objective of celebrating this day is to raise awareness about the problem of hunger and malnutrition. For the current year, theme of World Food Day was,” Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too”

Issues facing by farmers from Climate Change:

  1. Reduced water availability due to prolonged drought period
  2. Long drought condition which is result of climate is damaging the crop production seriously specifically in Thal, Thar&dsert area. Drought was responsible for serious famine in Thar in last year
  3.  Drastic reduction in cereal production, e.g. wheat and rice, as well as in cotton and sugarcane
  4.  Livestock production is decreasing, creating crises in milk, meat and poultry supplies and pushing prices beyond reach of the average Pakistani
  5.  Rangelands will be over-stressed from prolonged droughts and shifting human and livestock populations around riverine areas. This will reduce tree and shrub cover
  6. Plant diseases, weeds and insect attack have increased considerably, resulting in major crop losses. New diseases and insect pest has emerged as a resulting of climate change by which crop yield is decreasing
  7. The livelihood of farm communities has been affected, and marginalized groups like women, children and the elderly will be negatively impacted through widespread malnutrition.
  8. Unpredictable weather condition, change in rain pattern

Coping with climate change to ensure food security

  1. Such varieties (drought, saline and heat tolerant) of seed should be introduced that can survive in extreme climatic conditions
  2. Increase involvement of farmers and farming community in crop improvement activities including support for participatory research
  3. Promotion of efficient use of natural resources. Organic agriculture should be promoted and organic methods of agriculture should be included in course curium of Agriculture students
  4. Promote the control of pests through integrated method with minimum use of chemical pesticides
  5. Introduction of high efficient irrigation systems on subsidized cost to get maximum output with less water
  6. Building reliance & adaptive capacity for farmers
  7. Reduce carbon emission(which is major contributing factor) by introducing solar & wind operated agriculture technologies & implements
  8. Promote public-private partnership to address agriculture development in context of climate change
  9. Policies should be formed at national level that reflect priority for food security and increased self-reliance without compromising the environment

The revitalization of agriculture and ensuring sustainable agricultural systems to produce adequate food production in the face of anticipated effects of climate change hangs in the balance. A sense of vision underlines the need for concerted action in the immediate tomorrow.