Rifaqatullah Razarwal

Germanwatch Climate Risk Index 2021 put Pakistan among 10 countries most affected due to the climate change.

These most affected countries are faced with the deaths, droughts and hunger.

On the other hand, experts caution that if the climatic changes were not controlled, then, a large number of country citizens were likely to face food related problems.

Similarly, the expert also point out that a large number of Pakistan’s population was faced with malnutrition while at the same time country’s population was also on the rise. In such a situation, if attention is not paid to impact of climate change, then, food crisis was likely to further exacerbate.

Earlier in August this year, extreme floods have caused widespread devastation across the country, damaging properties, agricultural crops and orchards in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Sindh.

The flood induced devastation is likely to food shortages.

TNN has spoken to experts regarding climate change induced food shortages.

KP Kissan Board’s president Abdul Akbar Khan told TNN that season of spring played crucial role in crops with good yields. He said that earlier last year, the wheat crop was badly affected due to absence of rains while spring only lasted for five days instead of five weeks.

“This led to untimely ripening of the wheat crop; however, it badly affected the yield,” he said.

He said that timely rains also ensures full cycle of spring, resulting into wheat yield of 40 maunds per acre. “This year wheat yield dropped to 20 maunds per acre which has resulted into food shortage across the province,” he said.

Regarding the recent floods, he said that farmers have lost their ready crops over large tracts of land, causing extensive financial losses to them. “Now farmers even do not have money for to rehabilitate their flood affected lands,” he said.

He demanded authorities to provide free seeds, insecticides and interest free loans to the farmers for three years to enable them to stand on their feet.

Earlier in July 2021, a US report had warned about impending malnutrition impacting about 38 percent of Pakistan population between 2021 and 2031.

On the other hand, experts point out that China, America and India were three largest emitters of the greenhouse gases in the world, which were directly impacting Pakistan.

However, these countries have made elaborate plans to overcome the consequences of their emissions; however, Pakistan has not shown the required seriousness in this regard.

Dr Humayun Khan, a professor of climate change at the Agricultural University Peshawar said that a country needs to have forests about 25 percent of land to overcome climate change.

He said that besides government, individuals will also have to realize their responsibility; otherwise, threats of floods, droughts and food shortages.

Professor Khan said that in the absence of forests, greenhouses gases led to an increase in the earth temperature, which leads to melting of glaciers. “Forests absorb the greenhouse gases, thus stabilizing the environment,” he said.

He said that floods and other natural calamities directly affect the food, and not only push the prices up but also reduces the yield.

On the other hand, Save the Children report about the impact of the floods, states that about 86 million people including 30 million children across Pakistan were facing hunger and majority of them were flood affectees.

Vice Chancellor AUP Professor Dr Jahan Bakhat said that climatic changes directly affected the agriculture, food system, humans and other spices.

He said that last year, there was no spring and summer started right after the winter.

Dr Jahan said that in addition to this, there was little or no timely rain and when they started, it was not going to end.

“Pakistan can face water shortage by 2025 if steps are not taken to combat climate change,” he said.

Dr Jahan said that to avoid water shortages Pakistan needs agricultural innovation. “We need to have invent seeds that can withstand the climate change and require less water,” he said.

Dr Jahan said that AUP has introduced drip irrigation system to overcome water shortages, which produces good yield despite less use of water.

Currently Pakistan storage capacity was only for one month and we need to construct small and big reservoirs, Dr Jahan said.

The expert stress that Pakistan needs to increase its forest cover to 25 percent, conserving water and reduce greenhouse emissions to control the climate change.

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