‘Pakistan extremely vulnerable due to climate change’

Climate change has raised serious concerns for the developing world posing severe social, environmental and economic challenges. Pakistan’s status as an agro-based economy made it extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change, said speakers at the concluding session of the three-day Agricultural Model Inter-comparison and Improvement Project-Pakistan (AgMIP-Pakistan).

The AgMIP-Pakistan kickoff workshop and international seminar on climate change was jointly organised by the University of Faisalabad’s Department of Agronomy at the New Senate Hall on Thursday.

Speaking at the occasion, UAF Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said that the impact of climate change had received high contemplations in Pakistan as it was closely linked to food security policy and poverty for the vast majority of Pakistan’s population.

In the 1960s, the green revolution changed the face of the global agri-sector due to research in new varieties and fertilisation. In the 1970s, cotton heat stress varieties brought new heights in productivity, whereas 1980s was remembered as poultry revolution and the 1990s, subsequently, for hybrid varieties of corn. The global agricultural landscape had witnessed revolutions when faced with tough challenges in every decade.

Khan hoped that climate change in the 21st century will ultimately pave way to explore highest productivity potential for feeding the rapidly growing population.

“Pakistan’s status as a developing country is dependent mainly on agricultural sector making it highly vulnerable to the effects of global climate change,” UAF’s vice chancellor said.

Government of Punjab Additional Secretary Agriculture Ahmad Ali Zafar said that the agriculture and its allied sectors contributed 21% to the gross domestic product and employed 44% of the total workforce. About 65% of foreign exchange was earned by exporting goods manufactured from raw materials obtained from the agriculture sector, and since more than two-thirds of the population depends upon the agro-sector for their livelihood, no one can deny the importance of the agricultural sector to Pakistan.

Zafar urged scientists to devise new agronomic strategies to tackle the climate change and other emerging challenges.

American scientist Gerritt Hoogenboom stressed the need for collaborative efforts for coping global warming, and natural disasters and calamities.

Hoogenboom lauded the arrangements and technical approaches adopted during the international seminar, and hoped that it will enhance the capacity of participants came from all around the country. He was of the view that developing a comprehensive understanding of this adaptation capacity will facilitate efficient and viable agricultural policy reforms in the context of climate change.

Hoogenboom said that through the recommendations developed during the three-day seminar, the policymakers can develop effective climate policies based upon ground realities.

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