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Climate change impacts are manifold in Pakistan, because a major segment of the population depends on agriculture. Owing to climate change and variability, weather conditions are now more uncertain both in terms of timing and intensity. Farmers are unable to adapt to these sharp changes and resulting bottlenecks in crop productivity, which ultimately increases livelihood vulnerability.
21 November 2019
Mandira Singh Shrestha
Faisal M Qamer
Several institutions in Pakistan are adopting modernized monitoring, forecasting, and information dissemination systems to improve resource management practices in response to growing climate-related challenges. Some examples include agromet data products from the National Agromet Centre (NAMC) and the National Drought Monitoring Centre (NDMC) at the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD); the Irrigation Water Management Information System at the Punjab Irrigation Department (PID); and the functional use of mobile apps at the Department of Agriculture (DoA). Numerous data and information services do exist, and they are being used for agriculture-related institutional decision making. However, use of these critical information products for farm-level decision making is very limited.
Within Pakistan’s agriculture sector, there are several field-based stations functioning under the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), PMD, and DoA. Close engagement with farming communities are contributing to improved farm management practices and adoption of on-farm water management techniques. Although these national-level information systems and field-based entities serve the agriculture sector, a platform that integrates various agriculture-related information to provide holistic agricultural advisories to farming communities in a simplified manner is amiss.
To fill these knowledge gaps, recent investments made in developing information and monitoring systems can be effectively utilized to decentralize agricultural advisories through inter-departmental collaboration towards building farmers’ resilience and enhancing agricultural production in Pakistan.
These initial requirements were identified during a joint consultation visit by the Met Office (UKMO) – United Kingdom’s national meteorological service – and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) to Pakistan in July 2019, under the Asia Regional Resilience to a Changing Climate (ARRCC) programme. In this context, PARC in collaboration with the PMD and ICIMOD is organizing a day-long workshop to explore how key institutions can work together to provide efficient and impactful agricultural advisories to farming communities. This workshop will bring together providers of climate and agriculture services with various stakeholders to discuss the current status of services and potential mechanisms to address farmers’ emerging needs.
A wider consultation workshop on impact-based forecasting in Pakistan will be organized by the UKMO and ICIMOD, in collaboration with the PMD and NDMA, on 25–27 November 2019 in Islamabad, Pakistan, to frame key activities for the ARRCC in Pakistan.
1. Improve understanding of current institutional functions of service providers in Pakistan’s agriculture sector
2. Share information on current services and key data products
3. Review emerging demands from end users (farmers)
4. Discuss potential collaborative mechanisms and service design to co-produce and disseminate farmer-level agricultural advisories
1. A comprehensive reference for existing knowledge on current agri-advisory services for the co-development of a pilot service
Providers and users of agriculture and climate information for agriculture in Pakistan are expected to attend the consultative workshop. Participation is by invitation only.