Climate change to impact agri cost in future: report

The World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-Pakistan) released its report on climate change titled Climate Change Adaptation in the Indus Eco-region: A Micro Econometric Study of the Determinants, Impact and Cost Effectiveness of Adaptation Strategies, said a press release on Wednesday.

The report, produced in collaboration with the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), highlights the impact of climate change on Pakistan`s agriculture and food security. One of the key findings of the study is that the climate change will have a large impact on cost of agricultural productivity in the country.

In particular, by 2040 assuming a 0.5 degrees Celsius increase in average nationwide temperature, 8-10 percent loss is expected across all crops corresponding to Rs30, 000 per acre.

The report addresses the optimal public policy response to climate change and stresses methods that can help to improve crop resilience to temperature and rainfall variations. Its findings also suggest that productivity of cotton and wheat crops (but not rice) can increase by up to 49-52 percent if five on-farm adaptation measures are carried out. Such gains are possible for those farmers who are currently not applying these measures, approximately half of all farmers in Sindh and Punjab.

The WWF-Pakistan study author, Ali Dehlavi, an environmental and resource economist, called for a relatively low-cost roll-out of state sponsored climate field schools to teach on-farm adaptation measures.

The schools would equip participants with the knowledge of climate resilient methods within tillage, agro-chemical input use, and crop husbandry and irrigation.

Ahmad Rafay Alam, environmental lawyer and co-author of a political economy study of climate change, water and food security, prepared by LUMS in collaboration with WWF-Pakistan, said the 18th Amendment had changed the regulatory framework. Previously, with the responsibility of preparing and implementing climate policy resting in the Ministry of Environment, policy-making was an easily identifiable responsibility but after the amendment several subjects, including environment, natural ecology, health, food production and agriculture, had devolved to the provinces but the provincial governments, especially Sindh and Punjab, had taken no measures to devise their own climate adaptation policies.

Hammad Nagi Khan, director general WWF-Pakistan, also spoke.