ISLAMABAD            -          Climate change-related extreme weather events like floods and droughts have a significant negative economic impact on Pakistan’s agriculture sector as crops are susceptible to variations in temperature and water availability. According to a report on climate change by KTrade Securities, Pakistan’s mountainous region is vulnerable to glacial melt, increasing temperatures along with extreme changes in precipitation, increasing the country’s exposure to floods and droughts. According to the report, temperature rises in Pakistan’s agricultural region of 0.5°C-2°C could result in an 8%-10% loss in yield. The recent floods damaged standing crops (maize, rice, vegetables, sugarcane, fodder, and cotton) over an estimated 2.4 million hectares of land and killed more than 1.2 million livestock, affecting the lives of over 18 million people. The report says that Pakistan is also vulnerable to meteorological drought, which is typically brought on by a deficiency in precipitation. Pakistan has an annual median likelihood of severe meteorological drought of roughly 3%. A different study points out that Pakistan is located in the region of the world where agricultural productivity will decline rapidly. Climate change will reduce Pakistan’s agricultural productivity by 8-10% through 2040, with wheat being one of the biggest losers. Meanwhile, talking to WealthPK on the issue of climate change, Dr Sajjad, a scientific officer with Pakistan Agriculture Research Centre, said climate change was resulting in food insecurity in Pakistan. “Higher prices of commodities postflood have driven an increasing number of people into poverty, providing a sobering illustration of how the effects of climate change can cause food insecurity.” He said agriculture and the greater food production systems are already major sources of greenhouse gas emissions. “If agriculture is intensified in the future to offset output decreases (partly brought on by climate change) and rising demand for animal products, these emissions may increase even more. The demand for products related to cattle is anticipated to rise by 70% between 2005 and 2050,” he explained. Sajjad said that this loss will make Pakistan’s already difficult struggle to meet domestic wheat demand even more difficult. He pointed out that low production of mangoes demonstrates the impact of climate change. “Pakistan will fall short of its production goal this year due to unfavourable weather. In addition to this, the lack of water has had the most severe effects because it is a persistent problem throughout much of Pakistan,” he continued. “One of the worst-affected regions, where there is a severe water shortage, is Cholistan. People there are struggling and losing their means of support, such as their livestock,” he continued. The PARC scientist said agriculture is one of the most impacted sectors despite the fact that the effects of climate change are widespread. He said that a key contributor to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions is agriculture. “However, the consequences of climate change on agricultural productivity are extensive and may one day endanger the availability of food.” He said global food security requires both enough food production and food availability. The primary barrier to food security at the moment is access to food. “Over 10% of people are undernourished despite the fact that there is enough food produced globally to sustain everyone. Climate change is predicted to greatly worsen future food poverty since it will increase food prices and reduce food production.” Sajjad said quantity of water required for food production may become more limited as a result of droughts and rising agricultural water usage. “Land may become more competitive when some areas become climatically unsuited for production.” He maintained that climate change-related extreme weather events may potentially result in rapid declines in agricultural productivity, which would lead to substantial price increases. “For instance, the 2010 summer’s heat waves led to yield losses in significant agricultural areas, including Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan, and increased the price of essential items.”