ISLAMABAD: Country’s agriculture will be one of the major sectors, likely to be adversely affected by climate change, and a crop simulation model-based study shows that wheat yields will be drastically reduced in irrigated areas as well as arid and rain-fed areas towards the end of 21st century.

Studies showed that wheat yields will be reduced by 3.4 to 12.5 per cent in the semi-arid irrigated areas of Faisalabad and Sheikhupura; 3.8 to 14pc in arid areas of Multan and Bahawalpur, Badin and Hyderabad and up to 16pc in rain-fed areas of Chakwal.

Similarly, in basmati rice tract, the yield is expected to be reduced by 10.4pc, 16.5pc and 17.8pc by 2020s, 2050s and 2080s, respectively. Under a scenario, the yield is expected to decline by 11.4pc, 15.8pc and 21.5pc, respectively by 2020s, 2050s and 2080s.

In general, an increase in temperature will lead to shortening of ‘Grow Season Length’ (GSL) for wheat and rice crops in all the selected wheat growing districts and basmati tract of the country.

The results suggested that the aggregate impact of climate parameters like changes in temperature and rainfall exerted an overall negative impact on cereal crop yields, given that the management practices and use of technology remain unchanged.

According to the study, negative impact of climate change (increase in temperature) has been observed in neighbouring countries, like India, where reduction in yield of major crops like rice, wheat and maize per one degree Celsius in the temperature is expected to range from 4pc to 20pc (rice), 32pc to 50pc in the case of maize, and 5 to 20pc in wheat.

The study point out that one-fourth of the country’s land area, which is suitable for intensive agriculture, is threatened by wind and water erosion, salinity, water-logging, flooding and loss of organic matter.

Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2016

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