Large-scale plantations key to tackling climate change challengeBreaking

April 18, 2024

Pakistan is facing serious climate change issues, threatening food security. Speaking to WealthPK, Dr Ahmad Sattar, Director of Horticulture at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF), said that only increasing forest cover could help Pakistan overcome the effects of climate change, particularly on agriculture. He stressed the need for widespread plantations to mitigate the situation. He said UAF was one of the greenest universities in the world, adding that temperatures on the varsity’s campus were more pleasant than the surrounding areas of the city. He said trees could positively impact the environment. Ahmad said forested areas in the country must be increased to tackle climate change threats. “We must engage youth in tree plantations to secure the agriculture sector,” he added. He said Pakistan was among the top 10 countries facing the worst effects of climate change. “The agriculture sector of Pakistan is experiencing rapidly changing patterns.”

Ehtisham, a farmer, told WealthPK that he was observing changes in the yield patterns of fruit trees. Similarly, he said he had never seen a neem tree lose its leaves and regain them. “Such a rebirth is something unusual, and this is because of the climate change phenomenon.” “My family has been attached to agriculture for decades, but now we are perturbed due to the changing patterns of yields due to global warming.” He said trees played a pivotal role in tackling natural calamities, adding that farmers needed guidance on the types of trees they should plant. He said growers were grappling with issues of erratic weather patterns, water shortage, soil degradation, pest attacks, and crop failures due to climate change. Muhammad Afzal, an official from the forest department, told WealthPK that his department was striving to increase the number of trees in Punjab. He said agriculture was the backbone of the national economy, and trees protected the land from natural calamities.

He said the forest department distributed saplings free of cost to people. However, he said in spite of such efforts, the department could not get the desired results due to a ‘lack’ of public interest. Dr Muhammad Raheed of UAF called for creating awareness among the general public regarding the importance of trees. “Plantation campaigns will yield positive results,” he added. He said UAF was making all-out efforts to help the farming community tackle the climate change impacts. “New varieties of seeds, which are quite resilient to climate change, are being introduced. However, plantation of trees is imperative to tackle the emerging challenges,” he stressed. He said trees enhanced soil health and sequestered carbon dioxide.

“Integration of trees into agricultural lands is imperative to increase crop protection and production,” he added. Fatima Ali, a teacher at a state-run university, sharing her thoughts with WealthPK, said that every government claimed to carry out tree plantations, but in reality, the people at the helm did little to offset the effects of climate change. She said the rulers just raised hollow slogans. Fatima said Pakistan needed countless trees to combat climate change, which is particularly hitting the country’s agriculture sector. “We have to go for a green solution to battle the rising challenges posed by climate change. Without the involvement of citizens, the government and NGOs, we cannot accomplish this task,” she said.

Credit: Independent News Pakistan