Workshop on food security: Holistic approach needed to brave effects of climate change

Experts say climate change may decrease crop yield in Asia by 10 per cent by 2020.

Our Correspondent December 09, 2012


Experts at a workshop called for assessing the impact of climate change in Pakistan and taking policy measures to combat the looming threats of food insecurity in the country. They were speaking at a workshop titled “Food Security and Climate Change” held at a local hotel here on Saturday.

Climate change may decrease crop yield in Asia by 10 per cent by the year 2020, said Rana Nazir, a senior official of Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI). “Climate change is taking its toll on agriculture in Asia and Pakistan is no less safe,” he added.

Over two dozen agriculturists and environmentalists working in government and nongovernmental organizations in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) also attended the workshop.

Nazir said that floods and other natural disasters, which are a result of climate change, have added to food insecurity in the country. He said Pakistan is dependent on agriculture, while around 93 per cent of its total available water is used in farming.

Rana Nazir

He said the water which supplies these systems originates from water basins in the northern areas, adding that these sources can be disrupted due to inconsistent rains, floods and earthquakes. He was of the view that such indicators should be studied so as to take policy measures to combat the looming threats of food insecurity, especially for G-B.

Farasat Ali, a senior official at the World Wildlife Fund said that forests are effective deterrents against disasters being unleashed by climate change. He suggested that a holistic approach should be adopted to cope with such disasters that have damaged lands and agriculture in G-B.

Farah Naz, another official of SDPI said the purpose of the workshop was to identify climate change indicators in the local context and make agriculture compatible.

She said the Consultative Group of International Agriculture Research – USA has commissioned SDPI to study “accessible reference on risks due to climate variability and its current and potential impact on food security in Pakistan”.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 9th, 2012.


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