ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and United Nations’ Food and Agriculture (FAO) have agreed at a meeting to work together to address climates risks to agriculture sector, issues of escalating food insecurity and mal-nutrition in the country and boost area under forests in the country.
“Pakistan’s agriculture and water sectors are reeling under negative impacts of global warming, particularly floods, erratic weather patterns, shifting and declining rainfall, depleting groundwater resources, expanding desertification and aridity, sea intrusion. These devastating impacts are badly affecting country’s efforts/programmes meant for increasing overall agriculture production,” Federal Minister for Climate Change, Senator Mushahidullah Khan, highlighted during his meeting with the FAO’s delegation here on Monday.
The delegation was led by Patrick T. Evans, FAO’s country representative for Pakistan.
Mr. Evans told minister that protecting agriculture and water from deleterious impacts of climate change for Pakistan is indispensable for boosting agriculture productivity in the country to meet escalating food and water needs of the galloping population.
He warned, however, that food and water security, which are at the heart of sustainable socio-economic development in Pakistan, cannot be achieved as long as the sectors remain vulnerable to climate risks and are unable to sustain climate-induced disasters, such as floods, heavy rains, hailstorms and shifting weather patterns. Because, agriculture accounts for 25 percent share in country’s GDP and around 40 percent of the employments.
“We are ready to support Pakistan in dealing with the negative impacts of climate change on these very sectors, which are vital to country’s sustained economic growth. We would like to bring in proven experiences of improved agriculture and irrigation practices and introduce climate-resilient crop varieties, which can sustain heat waves, floods, salinity and drought conditions, which are becoming frequent in Pakistan,” FAO’s Evans told the minister.
Mushahidullah Khan welcomed the generous offer of FAO’s country representative and assured him and his organization of the fullest support in this regard.
“We are ready to collaboration in these sectors of economy and we will support at any bilateral collaboration between my minister and FAO at all levels, which would contribute in boosting Pakistan’s ability to cope with climate change impacts on agriculture and water and introduction of programmes, which can help boost area under forests in Pakistan.
Senator Mushaidullah Khan told the FAO country representative that the present government is fully acquainted with the impacts of climate change on country’s agriculture and water resources, which are being addressed on war-footing grounds through different policy measures.
“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif wants the substantial rise in area under forests, which he believes are the best way to mitigate climate change impacts. However, my minister will support any support, which will help increase tree cover.
Director General (Environment) Irfan Tariq, the Inspector General of Forests Syed Mahmood Nasir were also present in the meeting, who also shared their views and viable possibilities for collaboration in the field of climate-resilient agriculture and forest growth in Pakistan.