Climate change is a major challenge on crop production in Pakistan

By Amna Mushtaq

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As we know that sixty percent of the population of Pakistan is directly or indirectly relay upon rainfall   agriculture production crops that depends on predictable weather patterns. Global climatic change affects our agriculture and its impacts seem to increase daily. Pakistan produces wheat, rice, cotton, sugarcane, and maize and these crops are affected by climate change. Increasing in Earth temperatures globally is changing rainfall patterns including a shift in our seasonal duration such as change in monsoon pattern. These conditions affect agricultural production, farm production and agriculture business infrastructure that is leading to food insecurity and malnutrition among the farming communities. The aim of this review is to highlight the major challenge of climatic change on Pakistan’s agricultural sector, current risks, and the potential to insure agricultural practices that provide household food sector. Resulting in increasing temperatures, northern Pakistan facing a major change in temperature as a result to decrease in crop production and cause a major effect on Pakistan economy. Pakistan is densely populated country and rapidly increasing in population and urbanization cause a major impact on climate. Pakistan is the most affected country due to climate change and has been ranked 12th most impacted country due to climate change and has a major impact on agriculture and food resources.

One of the major cause of change in climate is the emission of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels and industries which in turn damage food crop and agriculture sector. Pakistan is an agricultural based economy country providing employment over 25 million people which is a huge contribution towards development of country. Pakistan is the 6th highest populated country with the average increase in population is about 2 percent. Climate change seem to be drastically change rainfall pattern which severely damage agriculture sector and most of the fertile land in Pakistan is under cultivation. Pakistan should produce climate smart crops if its goal to achieve food security. Climate change not only disturb rainfall pattern but also a change in annual rainfall pattern. Livestock contribution in increasing temperature due to emission of greenhouse gases is approximately 41%. We should made environment friendly crops and animal breeding practices by managing pastures land and should produce such crops on which our economy challenge less burden. We should adopt these methods because not only our economy is effected but also our poor society will suffer more to fulfill their daily basic needs. Pakistan being a warm country as it is located in such geographic region where temperature got extreme peaks. The land of Pakistan is basically arid and semi-arid land were most of the crops are irrigated by rivers and dams. The rivers are made from the melting of glaciers, these glaciers are located in the Hindu Kush-Karakoram Himalayan range and as a result of global warming. Increase in global warming results a major change in climate.

Pakistan is facing a gradual change in monsoon weather every year causes great floods and extensive floods. One of main example seen recently, a great flood come in most parts of Pakistan especially in southern and northern areas. Sindh province and Swat valley devastatingly damage by this flood. This flood removed fertile soil and thus affect production of crops in such areas which in turn a huge fall in Pakistan economy. Pakistan is the country where both Rabi and Kharif crops are cultivated and most of the crops are irrigated by river water, dams, ponds and tube wells etc. One of the most common technique used for irrigation is spate irrigation. Spate irrigation is crop irrigation technique which consists of diverting rivers water, valleys, gullies and riverbeds by gravity onto farmland situated at lower level than flood water. The Rabi crop include wheat and Kharif crops include rice, maize, sugarcane etc. The rise in food insecurity and malnutrition is one of the most noteable effects of climate change that should damage livelihoods and increase poverty. Speedy melting of glaciers increases sea level, which may distress people living in coastal regions. This may altered flood and drought conditions that affects irrigation which in turn change in growing of crops, these all situations comes due to change in climate. Almost 37% of the emission of greenhouse gases are due to agricultural practices.

According to 2020 report of Global Climate Risk Index, Pakistan is the 5th most affected country due to change in climate. The Asian countries face increasing in temperature about 5-6 degrees annually which can lose wheat production up to 50%. This loss will be greater for Pakistan due to its geographical position. In Pakistan, wheat and rice are the leading staple food of agriculture sector that face prominent decrease in their production. Climate change is a major hazard for millions of the Pakistani families relying on agriculture. Pakistan is an agricultural land which is divided into several types of irrigated land, deserts, mountains, marshy areas, sandy lands, muddy soils and rocks etc. By taking crucial steps, that is need to be taken by the government to invest by making better yielding  heat resistant, heat tolerant, drought tolerant anti-pest crop and livestock varieties. Climate smart agriculture will require closely with farmers to adapt their crop management strategies into more convenient practices that limit impacts of climate change. We should need a social response to climate change that help in progression for agriculture.

Our climate is changing at a greater rate and have a devastating impact on human health. This change not only effect physical health but also have a major impact on human health. Here are some simple things that we can do to manage over daily routine by implementing these techniques for betterment agricultural practices. We should use public transport rather than private automobile vehicle to carbon emission and promote cycling to improve air quality. We should use filters to maintain water quality because water resources are contaminated by agricultural practices and addition of wastes from industrial fluid. We should use energy saver system by utilizing solar energy which is a renewable form of energy. We should use eco-friendly farming techniques that consume less water as compared to other crops. We should prefer recycle items such as plastic bags.

As Pakistan is a developing country, we should make such practices to bear such heavy burden on economy and development of our country. As estimated the agricultural productivity will decrease up to 8- 10% till 2040. We should make such crops which are less costly, and should help poor farmers and promoting the economy of our country. After overcomes these practices, we become an independent country in the world.

(Amna Mushtaq M.Phil. Biology PMAS Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi)

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