FAISALABAD

Speakers at an international seminar expressed their concerns that Pakistan is in a severe grip of climate change and unless she takes measures to mitigate the menace, the situation would further worsen, causing yield reduction of major crops from 7 to 45 percent in the next four decades.The reduction will intensify the issues of food security. The AgMIP Kickoof workshop and three-day international seminar on ‘Climate Change’ were organised by Agro Climatiology Lab of the university. The speakers included Dr Qamaruz Zaman Chaudhry, the former DG Pakistan Meteorological Department, UAF Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan, Dr Ghulam Rasul, Deputy DG PMD, Momin Ali Agha, Special Secretary Agriculture Government of Punjab, Dr Gerrit Hoogenboom AgMIP Resource Person WSU, the US, Dr Abduk Qayyum Sulehri, country head of SDPI, Islamabad, Dr Xue Chun Wang, and Yuei-An Liu, Dr. Noor ul Islam Khan DG Research Punjab, Dr Asif Ali Khan Director ORIC, UAF, Dr Zahir A Zahir and Dr Shehzad MA Basra. Addressing the participants as chief guest, Dr Qamaruz Zaman Chaudhry said that PMD used to work as navigation agency in a traditional way but since it started working for agricultural community, it received tremendous appreciations and recognition. He urged the gathering to a play pivotal role in mitigating the impacts of climate change.Dr Gerrit Hoogenboom AgMIP Resource Person stressed the need to translate climate forecast into decision support for agriculture, as in recent past. He said, “We see a high level of interest in weather, and climate change but this interest has to be developed locally.” He said research alone is not sufficient but participatory approach for co-learning and dissemination involving a wide range of talent and institution would harvest the benefit manifolds.The vice chancellor in his welcome address asked the scientists to develop crop and fruit verities of short duration with heat tolerance that would, he said, enable the farmers to get three crops in a year. He said the UAF during the last five years, doubled the academic programmes and was at a verge of de-doubling it in the coming years with a desire to enroll 30 thousand students up to 2030. The VC said his office remains sending the faculty outside for professional updates either participating in short/long term training, workshop, symposium or seminar “all the time half of our faculty remains abroad in pursuance of higher studies or other professional engagements.” Dr Khan said that UAF vowed to move from south to north and desires to open its offshoots in Lahore and Gujranawala divisions.Momin Ali Agha said that his office is working on drafting Future Agricultural Framework for the next decades by considering the impact of climate change that needs to be addressed through integrated approach of all stakeholders. He said due to traditional way and climate change this year, the Punjab had missed the wheat production target.Dr Abdul Qayyum Sulehri, the country head of SDPI, stressed the need for sustainable production and consumption of all resources, as the country, he said, has to face energy and gas shortage due to non-serious and irresponsible behavior that led the country towards depleting the energy and gas resources. He emphasised that any policy in the country needs to get ownership from all three stages of the government right from federal, provincial and local governments that would effectively serve the objectives. He was of the view that human activity and non-sustainable production as well as consumption pattern cause the climate change. He said out of four types of securities at global, regional, national and human levels, the later is very much compromised for the sack of other securities that resulted in rising poverty, unemployment, and law and order in the country. He urged the government to squeeze some money from other sectors and invest on agriculture, food security, and climate change.Dr Ashfaq Ahmad Chattha called for putting the Pakistan Meteorological Department under Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security so that an integrated approach could be initiated. He also urged the Punjab government to set up a Punjab Agriculture Environmental Monitoring Network with two or three weather station in each district to help project crop productivity using integrated crop and economic modeling techniques. He underscored the need to redefine the agro-ecological zones in the country by keeping in view the climate change so that the climate smart crop varieties could be introduced accordingly.Punjab Director General (Research) Dr Noorul Islam Khan said that Pakistan, on the basis of the material it had, is far better than a many advanced countries as Pakistan’s verities are more heat-tolerant than theirs. “It provides us competitive edge. We just need to develop new verities with less water and short duration sugarcane.” He urged to shift green houses and nurseries in the northern areas of the country. The chief meteorologist described the climate change an outcome of anthropogenic behaviour. He said that methane remains in the air for about 12 years and sulfur affects the environment for more than 300 years. He said, “Every year, we witness 2ppm rise in Co2 and rising trend of temperature, thus 2010 was declared a warmest year of recorded so far,” he added. Dr Asif Ali Khan emphasised to redesign the plant so that canopy may tolerate the heat stress. Dr Zahir Ahmad Zahir advocated the use of organic waste by integrating the chemical inputs that, he said, besides increasing the yield manifold also upholds the plant and soil health.