Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture of Pakistan

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PhD Student

Pakistan has a population of 170 million and is located in South-Asia between 24° and 37° N  latitude and 61° and 75° longitude covering an area of 88.2 million hectares. It is endowed with  diverse agro-climate, topography, and culture. Three of the major mountain ranges of the world,  namely Himalaya, Karakoram, and Hindu-Kush (HKH), border the north followed by plateaus,  plains and coastal areas in the south. The climatic variability is expressed by humid zones in the north-east to hyper-arid in the south-west and west. Major part of the agricultural and range lands  lie in the arid to hyper-arid zones of the country.  Agriculture is the backbone of Pakistan’s economy. Pakistan being an agro-based economy is at  threat due to the global climatic changes. The country ranks 12th among the countries of the  World that are expected to be severely affected by climate change. The country is sensitive to  both increases in temperature and changes in precipitation. Climate change and agriculture are  interrelated processes. Climate change in Pakistan affects agriculture in a number of ways,  including through changes in average temperatures, rainfall, and climate extremes (e.g., heat  waves); emission of greenhouse gases, burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, increasing livestock farming, excessive use of fertilizers, use of aerosol sprays, changes in pests and diseases; changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide and ground-level ozone concentrations; changes in  the nutritional quality of some foods; and changes in sea level. Unusual heavy rain storms in  2010, which resulted in floods and distortion of agriculture and property, are example of climate  change. The recent floods have caused a loss of 2.6 million acres of land resources. The recent  studies indicate that Pakistan’s 22.8% land and 49.6% population is at risk due to impacts of climate change. Almost 50 percent of the land area of Pakistan is at the risk of getting affected just because of  climate change. Climate change is already affecting agriculture, with effects unevenly distributed in the country. Future climate change is negatively affect crop production in Pakistan. For  instance, Rise in CO2 level and reduction in water resources has negative impact on wheat yield. Climate change will probably increase the risk of food insecurity for some vulnerable groups,  such as the poor. Animal agriculture is also responsible for CO2 greenhouse gas production and a  percentage of the world’s methane, and future land infertility, and the displacement of local species.Agriculture contributes to climate change both by anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse  gases and by the conversion of non-agricultural land such as forests into agricultural land. A range of policies can reduce the risk of negative climate change impacts on agriculture and  greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture sector. Mainly focuses on the impact of climate  change on agricultural sector of Pakistan such as untimely rainfalls and temperature variations  that ultimately results in either prolonged droughts, unalarmed floods, increase in soil erosions  and decrease in land productivity, which ultimately results in the migrations and desertification.  The country’s socio-economic setup suffers the most that leads to a weak nation. It is the need of the day to carefully observe climate change, the causes of extreme weather events and find the necessary solutions to the problems. Issues regarding susceptibility to extreme climate conditions  should be addressed with seriousness to save Pakistan’s agricultural sector and consequently the  national economy. For example: Improve crops and varieties in terms of tolerance to high temperatures and drought. Improve efficiency of irrigation systems and expand range of water  sources for use. Improve land use system to make them more resilient to flooding and droughts.  Water conservation and recycling, use water efficiently, reserve storm water, making rain water  tanks as well as pipe connecting catchments and Irrigation channels in pipes.

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