Agriculture sector must be resilient to extreme climate change

The Global Climate Risk Index 2014 has ranked Pakistan among the three most affected countries worldwide for three consecutive years by climate-related catastrophes. Pakistan which suffered severe flooding in 2010 and 2011 was struck again by a rough monsoon season, killing over 650 people. Ranked third among 10 most-affected countries, losses to Pakistan were 9.53 per cent of per unit GDP, while absolute financial losses were $6087.82 million, while deaths per 100,000 inhabitants were 0.37. El-Nino conditions; is a weather pattern arising from temperaturevariation in the East Pacific Ocean which leads to changes in the wind temperatures all over the globe.

In communities that rely on their environments to provide basic food, water, and energy resources, the impacts of climate change can be devastating. Too much or too little water can decimate crops and force migration. As vital resources become scarce, more time is devoted to resource collection, less healthy options are exploited, and less sustainable practices are employed. Unexpected rains confuse monsoon cycle some areas of that region would witness slightly more than normal rainfall. It makes confusions for weather experts also to deal predictions and keep updated about alarming situations. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fifth assessment report suggested that the earth is in serious trouble and clearly stated that emission should be reduced along with investing in adaptation to climate change for sustainable future of agriculture.

In recent years, thousands of wheat acre across Pakistan had to face severe extreme events of climate change, exceptional both regarding the crop lost and economic damages as well as their meteorological magnitude.The rains and hailstorm also increased miseries of farmers in Jhelum and Chakwal (Punjab) by causing further delay in the start of harvesting of wheat crop. Adding to their woes, the rains and hailstorm caused further damage to the standing wheat crop across the province. Wheat crop in that area was on maturity grain filling stage and efficiently developing their reproductive phase. Extreme hailstorm damage the spike which were carrying grains and biomass of Wheat UC-Kala Gujran (Jhelum).

Farming community worried about their hundreds acres of Wheat loss due to unexpected weather event which damaged badly staple food crop productivity. In this rain-fed region Wheat was also face extreme and prolonged drought in the month of January which were also affected the vigor and tillering capacity of wheat crop as their potential. One acre of wheat field was having the average 1300 kg of net grain yield which is equal to Rs 50,000 revenue per acre.

Haji Amin, a small farmer of Jhelum, is one of the victims of that natural disaster, his seven acre of wheat crop were damaged with heavy rain full of hailstorms few days ago. He also told about the input per acre cost was Rs 12000-20000. in which tillages practices, fertilizer and other labor cost are involved. But at that stage he had nothing in wheat field just only damaged biomass which wa not even usable for livestock hey. Amin H., also share that most of the farmers of that area face same disaster and lost wheat crop, now at that stage they had nothing in wheat field and no wheat grain for food in future throughout year. While climate change impacts everyone, degrading resources and increasing instability will most greatly affect the millions of rural poor, the majority of whom are women, who depend upon natural resources for their livelihoods.

In this area rural women have no access to the farming fields so the need of hour is to ensure resilient, sustainable communities, we enable women to responsibly manage their resources and renew their environments. When women are empowered as stewards of their environments the result is communities that are better able to adapt to changes. Still in Pakistan survive off natural resources, climate change presents a challenge that most communities are simply not prepared to face that change. PODA (Potohar Organization for Development Advocacy) recognize the powerful role that women, as the primary users of their communities natural resources, can play in bolstering their communities resiliency while also reducing future climate impacts.

Semeena Nazir (Executive Director) said, PODA set an excellent example in Muzaffrgarh and get maximum output with minimum use of inputs against climate changes and damages due to it. Those communities that most rely on natural resources can be equipped to adapt to changes while also serving as a powerful force to mitigate future climate impacts. The weather extremes in Pakistan include very high and low temperature, hail storm, heaviest rainfall and flooding. Muzaffargarh rural women community was timely updated about the coming weather conditions by our agriculture climate change experts with other technical guidelines about field operation and cultural practices. Women farmers community efficiently managed their all wheat agronomic field practices sowing to the harvesting under the supervision and early information about changing weather rapidly. Either natural disaster hailstorm damaged most of the Wheat crop in that area but overall women farmer of that particular area set the best example against it and get maximum yield at the end. Weather early alarming update prove fruitful for to cope extreme event of weather and produced maximum grain to reduce the marginalized group and food security as well. If we will trained our rural women according to the changing climate and build their capacity for the sustainable agriculture development that will be a great achievement to minimize loss due to extreme events faced now a days in agriculture sector.

The author is a Researcher on Agriculture and Climate Change in PODA-Pakistan. He can be reached at <>

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