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Workshop on effects of climate change on agriculture




  •  Climate change is posing serious threats to Pakistan’s agricultural productivity and water resources and it cannot be avoided totally, but its effects can be mitigated through developing high temperature tolerant, climate resilient, climate smart and genetically modified crops.

    Climate change has visible signs in Pakistan which include more hotter summers, early cold spell, monsoon irregularity with untimely rainfall, increased rainfall over short period causing water logging, increased frequency and intensity of floods, very little rainfall in dry period, crop failure due to drought and salinity intrusion along the coastal region.

    Scientists during presentation at a workshop jointly organised by the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF), Agricultural Journalists Association (AJA) and Monsanto Pakistan highlighted the ‘Effects of climate change on agriculture, water resources and land and its acclimatisation in Pakistan.’ 

    Prof Ashfaq Ahmad Chattha incharge climate change cell UAF said not only CO2 level but temperature was also rising due to climate change which increases water requirement for the crops and in case of water non-availability results in loss of production. 

    With 1 centigrade rise in temperature, in case of wheat, might result in loss of 1.2 million tonnes of production.

    He said there were two keyways to respond to climate change including mitigation and adaptation. We cannot stop temperature increase, CO2 emission or deforestation but we can adapt to new technologies and methods to increase agri production. He said we should redefine agro-ecological zones due to climate change. 

    We have to develop automated environmental network and use models for forecasting, make adjustments in planting times, densities and sowing method, change in cropping pattern, cropping intensity and choice of suitable varieties.

    He stressed the need for developing varieties (idealistic plants) from climate change perspective and introduction of new crops using conventional as well as mutation breeding through biotechnology and genetic engineering.

    Dr Arshad Ahmad Khan said Pakistan ranks 4th in the world with respect to irrigated area (about 7%). He said severe effects of climate change on water resources could be seen in shape of changes in precipitation, drastic increasing trends in temperature, hazardous alteration in period of winter and summer, harmful rising in the sea level and depletion of groundwater.

    He called for implementation of climate change policy in Pakistan, organising climate change monitoring and impact assessment activities on scientific basis by filling the observational gaps over low elevation plains and glaciers zones and construction of water reservoirs in the upper catchments of the Indus.

    He advocated construction of Kalabagh Dam, terming it most suitable downstream dam for the country. 

    He called for modern efficient irrigation methods such as sprinkle, drip and trickle irrigation.

    Country Lead Monsanto Pakistan Aamir Mahmood Mirza said Monsanto was working with the objective of produce more-conserve more and improving lives so as to put minimum pressure on available resources and meet the changing climate globally. 

    Monsanto invests $1.5 billion per annum in research and development activities to double the yield of cotton, corn and soy by 2030, he added.

    “ We cannot stop temperature increase, CO2 emission or deforestation but we can adapt new technologies and methods to increase agri production

    Ashfaq Ahmad Chattha

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