KARACHI – Continuous floods in Pakistan have affected potable water quality. Small farmers and agriculture workers are left with no option but to use this contaminated water for cooking and drinking. This results in serious health problems.
M Qavi, national officer of the International Union of Food (IUF) Pakistan, expressed these views while speaking at a seminar titled “Climate Change & Sustainable Food and Agriculture” organised by the IUF Pakistan in Hyderabad, said a statement issued here.
The core objective of the seminar was to educate workers that how climate change was affecting workers’ food security and agriculture production and ultimately livelihood of farmers, sharecroppers and agriculture workers.
Senior journalist Afia Salam said that noticeable changes in the climate pattern had been witnessed. Unexpected pre and post monsoon rains in certain areas of Punjab and drought-like conditions in Sindh directly affected the crops. According to international standards, 25 percent of the total area of a country should have forests, but Pakistan had forests on less than 4 percent of its total area. Encroachments on natural river belt resulted in heavy losses of human lives and cattle in 2010 floods.
She said that with the changing climate different techniques of agriculture and irrigation needed to be adopted. Mismanagement of canal water made the land saline. Pakistan needed to adopt modern farming techniques like drip irrigation and focus should be on the multiple cropping pattern and short-term high-value crops to ensure safe livelihood for small farmers and agriculture workers.
She recommended that manuals for effective farming needed to be introduced and unions should raise their voice against contamination of portable water.
At the end, participants pledged to raise awareness about the impact of climate change on small farmers and agriculture workers. It was demanded that specific policies for agriculture workers should be developed and minimum wages should be ensured.
Mir Zulfiqar Ali of the Workers Education and Research Organisation also spoke on this occasion.
More than 30 people from various organisations such as Sindh Sugar Mills Workers Federation, All Sindh Agriculture Research, Regional Employees Union and Nari Porhiat Council and trade unionists attended the seminar.
Source: The Nation
November 22, 2016