Why Global Warming Hits Agriculture in Pakistan

Dr. Mujahid Ali and Dr. M. Irfan Ashraf (Horticulture, UAF)

Stephen Hawking described that within a century, we need to inhabit Mars as well as other planets. If scientists do not consider we may not tolerate climate change, disease and other fatal versions of destiny which we are certainly imposing (BBC News, 2017).
Global warming is an alarming situation for agriculture. Its aggravating conditions are imposing serious threat to heat sensitive crops. Quitting of the United States from Paris agreements is so serious issue. Along with all global nations Pakistan is also threatening with this situation. Battisti and Naylor, 2009 did make a graph which explains having more chances or probability of affecting by global warming with red areas including Pakistan. Due to global warming water scarcity is also creating trouble in Pakistan. Similar findings were also explained by Food and Agriculture (1998) along with Hong Kong (2012) reports which explained that Panjab province of Pakistan is going dry and hot gradually. In Punjab, some areas in summer become too hot having temperature maximum about 51°C. Pakistan is in a geographic location where the average temperature is predicted to rise faster than elsewhere, increasing 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) by the year 2100, according to a 2012 World Wildlife Fund report.
All provinces are of Pakistan are affecting a lot. Pakistan as the agriculture sector is mostly located in Punjab so it will cause economic loss. Global warming has again changed the growing and sowing seasons of various crops. For example, for wheat, the sowing season was different than 20 years ago in Punjab. Summer is not only becoming sever but also its duration is longer than before. Smog is creating another problem for human, animals, and plants in Pakistan. To control the open field environment is impossible. Due to lack of resouces and poor conditions of our farmers Pakistan has almost 100 percent open areas for agriculture. So, agriculture in Pakistan is to the victim in the world.
Global warming is linked to climate change which is due to several factors. Anthropogenic activities i.e. greenhouse gases. Methane, water vapors, and carbon dioxide etc. act as greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases mean those gases which can absorb heat from the environment and becomes the cause of global warming. High temperature causes damaging effects on all stages of the plants. Some crops lose their economic value during heat stress at early stages. While some crops drop its flowers and fruits so causes great loss. The high temperature is especially damaging summer vegetables as we can’t see any vegetable in June-July in Punjab.
In developing countries like Pakistan, to face such situations agro-forestry is valuable as when farmer grow trees on the side of the fields it not only as shelters belts but also becomes the source of partial shade for growing crops. The other strategy is the foliar spray of various chemicals like plant growth regulators PGRs, osmoprotectants, plant growth enhancers with its optimal doses can maintain turgor of the plant. Anti-transpirants chemicals should be identified as to control transpiration is the main factor to cope with high temperature to balance turgor of the plants.
Another approach is a layer of organic mulch (wheat straw, rice straw, sugarcane bagasse, cotton straw or sticks etc.) in the field will save from damage acting as insulation to the soil and help the plants retain moisture. It will cope with the effect of the strong sunlight by soaking it up before the heat gets to the ground below. During summer heat evaporate water immediately from the soil surface. To a limited extent, the progressive grower can install sprinklers for irrigation which can cause cooling the microclimate.
Keeping in view above mentioned facts it is the screening of all crops is much importance based on their heat tolerant ability. Heat tolerance is a vital tool for research purpose so that farmers can get a high yield in a globally changing scenario. It has been found that some varieties of the same species can tolerate high temperature significantly. So, the government should take the step to understand the issue of global warming for sustainable agriculture in the country.

What is sustainable agriculture?

The aim of sustainable agriculture is to satisfy society’s meals and fabric wishes in the present without compromising the potential of destiny generations to meet their own wishes. Practitioners of sustainable agriculture are searching for to integrate 3 main goals into their work: a healthful surroundings, economic profitability, and social and monetary fairness. all of us worried in the food machine—growers, food processors, vendors, shops, customers, and waste managers—can play a function in making sure a sustainable agricultural machine.

there are many practices generally used by human beings working in sustainable agriculture and sustainable meals structures. Growers might also use methods to sell soil health, reduce water use, and decrease pollutants ranges on the farm. clients and retailers concerned with sustainability can look for “values-based” foods which might be grown using methods promoting farmworker health, which might be environmentally friendly, or that strengthen the nearby financial system. And researchers in sustainable agriculture often pass disciplinary lines with their paintings: combining biology, economics, engineering, chemistry, network development, and many others. however, sustainable agriculture is greater than a collection of practices. it’s also technique of negotiation: a push and pull among the once in a while competing interests of an character farmer or of humans in a network as they work to remedy complex troubles about how we grow our meals and fiber.

The relaxation of this web page delves similarly into the philosophy and practices underpinning sustainable agriculture. Or go to the links to the right to go to sensible pages for training sustainable agriculture.

Background

Since World War II the number of U.S. farms has declined and the average farm size has increased. Data from USDA Census of Agriculture.

Agriculture has changed dramatically, especially since the end of World War II. Food and fiber productivity soared due to new technologies, mechanization, increased chemical use, specialization and government policies that favored maximizing production. These changes allowed fewer farmers with reduced labor demands to produce the majority of the food and fiber in the U.S.

Although these changes have had many positive effects and reduced many risks in farming, there have also been significant costs. Prominent among these are topsoil depletion, groundwater contamination, the decline of family farms, continued neglect of the living and working conditions for farm laborers, increasing costs of production, and the disintegration of economic and social conditions in rural communities.

Potential Costs of Modern Agricultural Techniques

Topsoil
Depletion

Groundwater
Contamination

Degradation of
Rural Communities

Lowered Conditions
For Farmworkers 

Increased Production
Costs

A growing movement has emerged during the past two decades to question the role of the agricultural establishment in promoting practices that contribute to these social problems. Today this movement for sustainable agriculture is garnering increasing support and acceptance within mainstream agriculture. Not only does sustainable agriculture address many environmental and social concerns, but it offers innovative and economically viable opportunities for growers, laborers, consumers, policymakers and many others in the entire food system.

What is Sustainable Agriculture?

Sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals — environmental health, economicprofitability, and social and economic equity.

A variety of philosophies, policies and practices have contributed to these goals. People in many different capacities, from farmers to consumers, have shared this vision and contributed to it.

Despite the diversity of people and perspectives, the following themes commonly weave through definitions of sustainable agriculture.

A systems perspective is essential to understanding sustainability.
The system is envisioned in its broadest sense, from the individual farm, to the local ecosystem, andto communities affected by this farming system both locally and globally. An emphasis on the system allows a larger and more thorough view of the consequences of farming practices on both human communities and the environment. A systems approach gives us the tools to explore the interconnections between farming and other aspects of our environment.

Making the transition to sustainable agriculture is a process. A systems approach also implies interdisciplinary efforts in research and education.
This requires not only the input of researchers from various disciplines, but also farmers, farmworkers, consumers, policymakers and others.

For farmers, the transition to sustainable agriculture normally requires a series of small, realistic steps. Family economics and personal goals influence how fast or how far participants can go in the transition. It is important to realize that each small decision can make a difference and contribute to advancing the entire system further on the “sustainable agriculture continuum.” The key to moving forward is the will to take the next step.
Finally, it is important to point out that reaching toward the goal of sustainable agriculture is the responsibility of all participants in the system, including farmers, laborers, policymakers, researchers, retailers, and consumers. Each group has its own part to play, its own unique contribution to make to strengthen the sustainable agriculture community.

 

A sustainability oriented technology and Soil health

Mohsin Tanveer, Shahbaz Atta Tung, Haseeb Zahid

Nature has sanctified us with biological entity and life is not possible without it. And that biological entity is SOIL. Soil is layer of upper earth crust and a source of mineral nutrients, containing a vast array of organic, inorganic nutrients and gases in different proportions. Plant takes up 16 elements from soil and makes its food. Unfortunately, we are not taking care of it and under the scenario of current agriculture problems; soil health is of burning issue right now. Agriculture is modified and transformed into industry and now the only aim of farmer is to get high yield even though he has to deteriorate its soil. Farmers have increased their cropping intensity in greed of more earning without taking into consideration of soil health. As a result, nutrient status of soil is diminishing rapidly day by day. Mohsin Tanveer

Although the nutrient requirement could be done with synthetic fertilizer application, but fertilizer prices and their quality is still a question. However, total avoidance of synthetic fertiliser is not possible, so there is need of sustainability oriented approach that reduces artificial fertilizer application and improves soil fitness. The basic concept behind adoption of that technology is just to increase organic matter in soil. Soil fertility depends on the availability of organic matter. This organic matter not only improves water holding capacity, nutrient retention capacity but also enhances microbial activity in soil by providing them food. It is primitive for better productivity that our soil should contain enough nutrients. Plant stores nutrient in grains, leaves, stem and roots. It is rule for successful and progressive farming that, after removing economical part of plant, remaining should be incorporated in soil.

Using combine harvesters, lot of wheat stubbles remained on soil and that is marvellous source of organic matter. Usually farmers burn these stubbles and putting stubbles on fire causes environmental issues and loss of nutrients and sometimes it takes shape of massive accidents. Burning also affects soil microbes and reduces soil health. Burning of stubbles is crime, then why does our farmer do this? The reason is, he does not have any idea how to get rid of that and what to do with that. Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture Faisalabad has devised a system that not only improves soil health but also provide an additional source of income. Main benefit of this technology is that being leguminous crop and addition of organic matter in soil, fertiliser requirement dips to half amount and by burning, 80% nitrogen, 25% phosphorous and 21 % potassium is lost. On the other hand these nutrients can be returned back by putting them in soil. Dr. Ehsan Ullah and his team introduced three methods:Soil health 1

Sowing of Sesbania in standing wheat: Sesbania is leguminous crop that has potential to produce excess biomass in short time with low input requirement. It has capability to fix nitrogen in soil and increase nitrogen concentration in soil. At the end of March/ start of April and when last irrigation of wheat is done then broadcast sesbania at rate of 10 kg per acre in standing wheat. Soak the seed for 10-15 hours before surface steeping that increase germination speed. Then at harvesting time of Wheat, Sesbania grows up to height of 1 foot and at that time it is not ploughed in soil by using simple cultivator. At this stage, upper grown parts can be harvested and fed to animals as fodder. And below ground parts may be act as organic matter in soil. 2) Sowing of Sesbania after wheat harvesting: Sometimes, farmers do not able to sow seed, might be due to unavailability of seed. Then they can sow seed even after harvesting. Seeds may be sown by giving irrigation heavily after harvesting and broadcast primed seed in field. In this method, Sesbania get little height at time of land preparation for rice. But that little biomass of Sesbania improves sol health a lot.

Soil health 2Sowing at field capacity level of soil after wheat harvesting: In this method, seeds are broadcasted at field capacity level (optimum soil moisture level) of soil after harvest of wheat. Weeds may also be growing in this way that can be removed easily. Incorporate the Sesbania when, land preparation is required. Under all these methods, our aim is to introduce a leguminous crop and utilize nutrients and time between wheat harvesting and sowing of next crop. There are two methods, employed to incorporate them in soil. Through rotavator: Rotavator is best option for Sesbania incorporation. Give light irrigation to field, then at optimum moisture level, rotavate the field, in this way stubbles of wheat and Sesbania may be cut down and can be easily incorporated. By puddling method: At the core areas of rice belt, it is started raining and at that time Sesbannia may be deposited in soil in that standing water of rain. This method yield two benefits, firstly the rovator cut down plants in to small pieces which will start decomposing abruptly and secondly, there will be no need of land preparation further. Soil becomes soft and fertile after this method and that helps in transplanting of rice nursery.

Questions regarding the adoption of this method:

· Some farmers feel reluctant to spend money on purchasing Sesbania seed. They do not want to increase the expense but they do not know, if they use this technique, they will not only sustain their soil but also get high yield and price of Sesbania seed is very low.

· Some farmers ask how this will increase our yield. The answer is Sesbania is leguminous crop. It will fix environmental nitrogen in soil and boost up the availability of nitrogen in soil. This will reduce fertiliser requirement.

· Some farmers inquired about the feasibility of adoption of this method. This method is feasible under all agro-ecological zones and can be adapted at all kind of soil series.