LAHORE: The Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) profile for Punjab province was launched with the support of FAO and CIAT at a ceremony in Lahore on Thursday.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), The International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and Agriculture Delivery Unit, Government of Punjab have jointly prepared the profile.
Pakistan is considered to be one of the most vulnerable to climate change, with serious impacts on agriculture and food security, due to its geographical location – ranking as the 7th country most affected from natural disasters (1996 – 2005) on the Global Climate Risk Index for 2017.
The profile highlights climate smart agriculture strategies that can help mitigate and adapt to extreme weather events in Punjab, while at the same time contribute to increased agricultural productivity and food security in the province.
It emphasizes the need for agricultural diversification, reducing dependence on cash crops and switching to higher value nutritious crops. It also points out the urgent need to improve water management strategies, increase irrigation efficiency and reduce water wastage.
In addition, it provides an assessment of the provincial policy and institutional environment for CSA, identifies barriers and solutions for province and district-level policy design and implementation.
Welcoming participants Mr Farrukh Toirov, Deputy FAO Representative in Pakistan said: “It is critical to take pre-emptive measures to address challenges presented by climate change to the agriculture sector, food security and economic growth of Pakistan and its provinces. The CSA profile for Punjab is a step in that direction.
CSA initiatives sustainably increase productivity, enhance resilience and reduce or remove greenhouse gases. The profile will be instrumental in assessment of provincial policy and institutional environment for CSA, identification of barriers and solutions for province and district-level policy design and implementation, and highlighting financing opportunities for CSA investments at the provincial level.
Ms Beenish Fatima Sahi, Additional Secretary Task Force Punjab Agriculture Department in her remarks appreciated the collaborative effort in the preparation of the Profile and highlighted the importance of CSA for agriculture in Punjab.
Agriculture is important to the Punjab economy, contributing approximately one-quarter of provincial GDP. The province also accounts for two-thirds of the total national agriculture output.
The sector employs over 45% of the Punjab labor force and is the main employment source of nearly three-quarter of the female labor force.
The climate-smart agriculture (CSA) concept aims to improve integration of agriculture development and climate responsiveness. It aims to achieve food security and broader development goals under a changing climate and increasing food demand.
The CSA Profile for Punjab is prepared on the lines of CSA country profile for Pakistan which was launched in Islamabad last year. These profiles are an effective tool for improving knowledge base on criteria for assessing CSA interventions in a given country.