Monday, December 2, 2013

Severe food, water shortage on Parkistan's horizon

The Express Tribune (Pakistan): Pakistan needs to gear up to avoid the negative impact of climate change on crop production, water availability and food security. This was stated by Dr Mohsin Iqbal, head of the agriculture and coordination section at the Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC), who added that recent projections have confirmed that wheat yields in Pakistan will decline towards the end of the century owing to changing weather patterns and rises in temperature.

GCISC is Pakistan’s only autonomous, dedicated climate change research institution and its research shows the decline in wheat yields could be 8 to 10 per cent from current yield levels. By 2100, Iqbal said, rice yields might also reduce 15 to 20 per cent.

The decrease in yields could lead to a food shortage which in turn could prove catastrophic for a country such as Pakistan, whose population, with a 1.9 per cent annual growth rate, is expected to touch the 300-million mark by 2050.

GCISC’s observations are in line with other international and regional reports, said Dr Bashir Ahmad, a principal scientific officer at the Climate Change, Alternate Energy and Water Resources Institute of the National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC).

A 2009 food policy report prepared by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), for example, suggested that agriculture will be negatively affected by climate change. The report claimed that climate change will cause yield declines for the most important crops and South Asia will be “particularly hard hit” with large declines in yields for irrigated crops there.

Freshly sown rice paddies in Sindh, Pakistan, shot by DFID - UK Department for International Development, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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