EDITORIAL: Once again agri sector experts have warned as loudly as they could that climate change is taking such a heavy toll on horticultural and crop yields that if centuries-old ways of seeding and irrigation are not abandoned to make way for technologically advanced methods even now, then very soon we will face “serious food insecurity” and a water crisis we might never recover from.

It turns out that a two-degree rise in hot weather cuts overall agricultural produce by 20pc, which if you’ve not planned for it means last-minute imports at top dollar with no guarantee of securing enough supply in time.

And that, of course, means small farmers will eventually get crushed and big ones will suffer large losses just because there’s no way to make the government wake up, declare an agriculture emergency, and ensure full-scale adoption of modern seeding and irrigation technologies.

Far too many onlookers – this space included – have been crying out for just such measures for far too long, since before climate change was even known to be such a big issue, yet no government regardless of the party in power has ever got this job done.

Agriculture is supposed to be Pakistan’s natural endowment, comparative advantage, largest employer, sector with the most number of Pakistani families associated with it, and of course the country’s bread basket. Yet we’ve fallen from net exporter to chronic importer largely because we still want to run this sector on ancient knowhow and technology even when undeniable effects of climate change have prompted the entire world to improvise.

The World Resources Institute’s research finds Pakistan in a region where agricultural output “could go down to 50pc from 2015 to 2050 because of climate change and the impact on crop yields”. That means changing weather conditions, which in turn are altering rain patterns in both summer and winter, will cause more damage than usual in our part of the world.

Add to that our own selective blindness, biases and resistance to modern technology and it’s not too hard to figure out how and why we’ve dropped from being one of the world’s most water abundant countries, once upon a time, to one of its most water scarce ones now.

It’s a shame that the government has set up research centres and even a climate change ministry, yet experts and stakeholders continue to lament that these institutions have failed to benefit farmers at all. The same old argument that farmers themselves are reluctant to change their habits is simply unacceptable. Why can’t we learn from the Chinese, who kept abreast of climate change complications and employed the latest technologies to stay ahead of the curve and revolutionise their agri sector?

This should be considered the last wakeup call for the government. A collapse of the agri sector, coupled with a water crisis, will unleash economic, social and political crises that could cripple the country. If there’s still no action on this, then our leaders just can’t read the writing on the wall.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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KU Jul 07, 2024 11:13am
Article must show data on climate change effect on swathes of agri-lands in Pakistan, water scarcity is a real threat in absence of dams/reservoirs. Its criminal of leaders to ignore this crises.
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KU Jul 07, 2024 11:14am
A study by Ahmad et al, 2020 shows ‘that due to effects of climate, 43% farms with land ownership exited/sold their farms, while77% survived due to livestock but are facing difficulties.
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KU Jul 07, 2024 11:15am
''2 billion people live in hottest parts of the world, temp skyrocket to 60°C, you fall asleep at 4 a.m., that’s the coolest part of the day'' (What the World Will Look Like…Christiana et al, 2020)
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Tariq Qurashi Jul 08, 2024 10:11am
Pakistan wastes 97% of its water in inefficient flood irrigation. The glaciers are melting, and we will be faced with a severe shortage of water. We need to move to drip and sprinkler urgently.
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Mumtaz Malik Jul 08, 2024 10:18am
It is crucial for all politicians to set aside their personal agendas and take responsibility for the survival of Pakistan.
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Mumtaz Malik Jul 08, 2024 10:19am
They must advocate for the well-being of the nation's citizens. Currently, political stability is absent in Pakistan, with constant conflicts among politicians from different parties dominating TV.
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Mumtaz Malik Jul 08, 2024 10:22am
Pakistan is one of the world's largest producers and suppliers of food and crops (according to the various global sources). Pakistan ranks 8th globally in farm output.
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Mumtaz Malik Jul 08, 2024 10:23am
Pakistan is one of the world's largest producers and suppliers of food and crops (according to the various global sources). Pakistan ranks 8th globally in farm output.
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Mumtaz Malik Jul 08, 2024 10:23am
Pakistan is one of the world's largest producers and suppliers of food and crops (according to the various global sources). Pakistan ranks 8th globally in farm output.
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Mumtaz Malik Jul 08, 2024 10:27am
It suggesting that new and advanced feeding technologies, changes in animal feed composition, better and more efficient livestock breeds, improved manure management practices.
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Mumtaz Malik Jul 08, 2024 10:27am
And the management of pasture and grazing land will be advantageous in enhancing the agricultural productivity as well as increasing the potential soil carbon sink.
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Mumtaz Malik Jul 08, 2024 11:18am
If the Kala Bagh Dam had been constructed on time, Pakistan would not only have achieved self-sufficiency in agriculture but also become an economically strong country.
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Mumtaz Malik Jul 08, 2024 11:19am
I am deeply astonished that educated individuals in Sindh believe that water used for electricity generation becomes unsuitable for agricultural purposes. This notion is utterly absurd.
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Mumtaz Malik Jul 08, 2024 11:26am
First and foremost, end all conflicts among politicians. Bring them together at one table so they can unite on a single platform to address the new challenges facing Pakistan.
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Mumtaz Malik Jul 08, 2024 11:30am
Climate change is a recognized universal truth all around the globe with concomitant adverse impacts on water resources, agriculture production, biodiversity, human and animal health, forest system.
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Mumtaz Malik Jul 08, 2024 11:31am
It is an anticipated that the developing and undeveloped states will undergo severe and profound changes because of global climate change as compared to the developed nations.
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Mumtaz Malik Jul 08, 2024 11:33am
At the societal level, the commonplace citizens especially the poor will suffer the mostly and ensure the devastating repercussions of climate change owing to the dearth of resources and poor access
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Mumtaz Malik Jul 08, 2024 11:38am
Pakistan being a warm region, predominantly at risk to atmospheric shift due to its located in such geographical region where the temperature rises are higher than the global average.
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Mumtaz Malik Jul 08, 2024 11:40am
The land is generally arid and semi-arid (about 60% of the area receives less than 250 mm of rain per annum and 24% receives between 250-500 mm); the rivers are mainly supplied by the glaciers of the,
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Mumtaz Malik Jul 08, 2024 11:41am
The Hindu Kush-Karakoram Himalayan and as a result of global warming, they are reducing rapidly; the economy is agrarian and therefore extremely vulnerable.
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Mumtaz Malik Jul 08, 2024 11:43am
The economy is agrarian and therefore extremely vulnerable. In the past few years, Pakistan has been facing gradually bigger perils of inconsistency in monsoon weather,
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Mumtaz Malik Jul 08, 2024 11:45am
And the amount of rainfall every year causing great floods and extensive droughts. Therefore, the Water Security, Flood Security, Energy Security, and agriculture sector of Pakistan are at grave risk.
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Mumtaz Malik Jul 08, 2024 11:53am
Last but not the least, The Government of Pakistan should mandate that every citizen plant five trees in their name over the course of their lifetime.
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Azeem Hakro Jul 08, 2024 01:51pm
Climate change devastates crop yields. Urgent adoption of advanced tech is needed to prevent food insecurity and water crisis in Pakistan's agri sector.
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Sajid Mahmood Jul 08, 2024 02:48pm
Nice article
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Nasrullah Khan Jul 08, 2024 04:53pm
There is no agri emergency this all hue and cry is to force farmer to shift from organic to gmo agri. Wheat, rice and fruits production is rising this stunt is for gmo seeds ..... all business.
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