Environmentalists say climate change threat to food security

Urge adoption of modern farming techniques, reforestation to cope with problem

APP July 14, 2017
A labourer sifts wheat crop in a field. PHOTO: REUTERS

LAHORE: Environmentalists said climate change due to global warming can affect agricultural output, thereby threatening the country’s food security situation.

“There is a dire need to adopt measures on war-footings to create awareness among the farming community about the impacts of climate change,” Deputy Director Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) Muhammad Saleem Shaikh said.

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He informed media persons that the ministry had directed provinces to take steps to cope with impacts of climate change particularly the agriculture and livestock sectors. He added that agriculture was the backbone of Pakistan’s economy and makes up 21% of the country’s GDP along with employing 45% of the labour force.

Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) environmental expert Kashif Salik said various studies showed that steadily rising temperatures were posing a serious risk to country’s efforts for achieving sustainable food security and meet food consumption needs.

“Growth in agricultural output is linked to temperature and rise in temperature adversely affects crops and fodder,” he said, adding that immediate action is needed to cope with the situation.

Former senior director of World Wide Fund for Conservation of Nature (WWF) Dr Ijaz said that climate suitability of crops needs to be considered before planning cultivation to obtain optimum yields.

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“The farming community was persuaded [during my tenure] to use modern methods of cultivation in the areas which were prone to climate change,” he stated, adding that increased application of biotechnology innovations can allow farming of carbon absorbing crops and seeds.

Prominent environmentalist Mehmood Khalid Qamar said that deforestation was causing climate hazards. He highlighted massive deforestation as the main cause of the global climate change and urged the government to initiate reforestation efforts like the K-P’s ‘billion trees tsunami’ campaign.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2017.

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