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Climate change: Extreme weather conditions affecting crop cultivation, says agriculture expert

he ongoing climate change phenomenon is affecting the overall process of agricultural development and keeping farming community engaged in spending extra on saving their crops from impact of extreme hot and cold weather and unexpected rains. Climate change has also given rise to virus and pest attack incidents.

This was said by Agriculture Assistant Information Director Naveed Asmat Kahloon on Wednesday.

He said scientists were carrying out research to prepare guidelines on how to negotiate with the climate change phenomenon to keep their crops’ production and quality intact.“From what we have observed in the past is the fact that progressive farmers were more attentive to advisories issued in light of research but small farmers usually overlooked them and resultantly their production volume remained low,” Kahloon said.

“Weather is not behaving the way it used to in the past,” he said.

The agriculture official pointed out that increase in summer duration, depleting water resources, changing system of rains, increase in methane gas and decrease in production of big crops were affecting the agricultural processes. In addition, he said Ozone layer damage cause infrared rays from sun to directly affect earth.

He said In Punjab, high temperatures from May to July usually damage vegetables, pulses, sugarcane and maize crops. “Crop cultivation processes from sowing to harvesting are affected by temperature fluctuations,” he elaborated.

“While gradual increase in temperature may deliver good production, sudden increase in temperatures leave plants at the mercy of sunburn and sudden decrease causes frost,” the official said.

Kahloon said that sudden cloud bursts and subsequent heavy rains and floods have also destroyed crops and rural settlements in the past.

He mentioned that different crop production reports from 2001-2007 indicate that Rabi crops granules shortened due to extreme hot weather conditions and in early 2008 extreme cold weather triggered frosty weather for three weeks that damaged mango, vegetables, wheat and sugarcane crops.

Climate, threats and opportunities

Similarly, he said from 1975 to 2000, average temperature per week never crossed 45 Celsius mark. However, in May-June 2016, the temperature rose to 47 Celsius. The agriculture official cited a recent report of International Panel on Climate Change which stated that Pakistan would be among the top ten countries that could be affected by low rains in the coming decades.

Asmat Kahloon said in view of the situation, an exercise had begun in Punjab under the supervision of Agriculture Secretary Muhammad Mahmud to review outdated agriculture research and extension practices. “Besides, agriculture advisories are being modified for each district to assess proper time of sowing, water application, fertilisers and harvest,” he said.

He said that scientists need to develop such varieties of crops that could survive harsh weather conditions.

APP. Climate change: Extreme weather conditions affecting crop cultivation, says agriculture expert. The Express Tribune, October 26, 2017.

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