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Reforming Agriculture Sector in Pakistan

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Editorial

Urgent Need for Technological Advancement in Agriculture to Mitigate Climate Change Effects

The agriculture sector experts have issued an urgent warning about the severe impact of climate change on horticultural and crop yields. They emphasize that failure to abandon centuries-old methods of seeding and irrigation, and instead adopt modern techniques such as precision farming and drip irrigation, will lead to serious food insecurity and an irreversible water crisis.

According to experts, a mere two-degree rise in temperature can result in a 20% reduction in overall agricultural produce. This will necessitate last-minute imports at exorbitant prices with no guarantee of securing an adequate supply in time, putting both small and large farmers at risk of potentially devastating losses.

Regrettably, calls for the government to declare an agriculture emergency and promote the widespread adoption of modern seeding and irrigation technologies have gone unheeded for far too long. The government’s role in providing subsidies for modern equipment and promoting research and development in the agricultural sector is crucial. Despite agriculture being Pakistan’s natural endowment and largest employer, the failure to embrace modern technology has led to a decline from a net exporter to a chronic importer in the agricultural sector.

Research from the World Resources Institute indicates that Pakistan’s agricultural output could decline by 50% from 2015 to 2050 due to climate change and its impact on crop yields. Changing weather patterns and rainfall alterations are expected to exacerbate these challenges, further hampering agricultural productivity.

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In addition to climate change, the reluctance to embrace modern technology and adapt to evolving conditions has contributed to Pakistan’s transition from one of the world’s most water-abundant countries to one of the most water-scarce. Despite the establishment of research centers and a climate change ministry, experts and stakeholders are dissatisfied with the failure of these institutions to support and benefit farmers effectively.

It is unacceptable to attribute the lack of progress solely to the reluctance of farmers to change their practices. Comparisons with countries such as China, which proactively addressed climate change challenges and implemented cutting-edge technologies in agriculture, highlight the need for Pakistan to adapt and modernize its approach.

This should serve as a pivotal moment for the government to take immediate and decisive action. The potential collapse of the agriculture sector, combined with a looming water crisis, poses significant economic, social, and political threats to the country. Without immediate intervention, the repercussions could be devastating, signaling a failure on the part of our leaders to recognize the urgency of the situation.

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