Speakers at the conclusion of an international conference on Monday underscored the need to come up with mechanisms to cope with climate change and its impacts on water scarcity and crops productivity.
During the conference, titled “Climate change: A challenge for agriculturists”, speakers revealed that Pakistan’s per capita water will reduce to 800 cubic meters in 2026, from an estimated 1,000 cubic meters in 2010. They also noted that the country’s area under cultivation is also gradually reducing due to the rapidly increasing population.
Sixty researchers from across the country, India, China, Japan and Germany participated in the three-day-long conference that concluded at Agriculture University Peshawar (AUP) on Monday.
AUP Vice-Chancellor (VC) Dr Khan Bahadar Marwat said that climate changes have gravely effected agricultural production and continue to pose challenges to the society. Emphasising on the importance of tree plantation in the increasingly polluted environment, Dr Marwat analogised that if a person plants a tree, it can contribute a cooling effect to the environment equivalent to that of a 1.5 ton air-conditioner.
The VC stressed on the need to reduce dependence on wheat crops, saying it is severely affecting climate change. He called for cultivating more environment-friendly crops such as maize, barley and corn. The VC said that heavy application of organic fertilisers on fields has negatively affected crop productivity and is putting consumers at risk of hepatitis and other diseases.
Dr Marwat said that due to global warming, the increase in temperature is causing underground water level to decrease, due to which thousands of acres of fertile land are at risk of getting barren. He urged upon the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) to take immediate steps to come up with viable plans to manage natural disasters.
Department for International Development Livestock Advisor Prof. G Habib said that uncertain environmental changes have gravely affected livestock and called for policy reforms.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2012.