A day laborer in Islamabad, Pakistan pauses from his work of harvesting wheat by hand. Photo: A. Yaqub/CIMMYT
MEXICO CITY (CIMMYT) — Farmers in Pakistan that practice climate change adaptation strategies like adjusting sowing time, adopting new crops and planting drought tolerant varieties have higher food security levels and are less likely to live in poverty than those that don’t, according to a new study.
South Asia is likely to be one of the most affected regions by climate change due to the region’s vast agrarian population and large number of poor, unfavorable geography, limited assets and a greater dependence on climate-sensitive sources of income.
In Pakistan, climate change has had a direct impact on rain patterns and increased the frequency of extreme weather events such as flash floods. Adaptation measures at the farm level can help lessen the impact of these negative effects on food security.
Researchers from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) recently surveyed 950 farmers across Pakistan to see what adaptation measures to climate change they use, if any.
The study found that farmers in Pakistan are using a variety of adaptation practices to counter the adverse impacts of climate change, primarily adjusting sowing time, adopting new crops and planting drought tolerant varieties. The results also highlighted the importance of awareness and knowledge about the local context, climate change, adaptation and its benefits. Younger farmers and farmers with higher levels of education are also more likely to use these adaptation practices, as do farmers that are wealthier, farm more land and have joint families.
The authors of the study conclude that adaptation policies should focus on increasing the awareness of climate change and climate risk coping strategies and its benefits, as well as increasing the affordability of climate risk coping capacity by augmenting the farm household assets and lowering the cost of adaptation.
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