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World Bank To Assist Pakistan In Its Quest To Adopt Climate-Smart Technologies

The World Bank has approved $200 million to assist Pakistan in its efforts to transform the agricultural sector by adopting climate-smart technologies to improve water-use efficiency, build resilience to extreme weather events and also increase the income of small farmers in Punjab. The Punjab Resilient and Inclusive Agriculture Transformation (PRIAT) targets an urgent need for adaptation and is expected to benefit about 190,000 small, family-owned farms and 1.4 million acres of irrigated land in rural communities in the province.

Agriculture is the largest sector of Pakistan’s economy and it is concentrated in Punjab, which accounts for 73 percent of the country’s total food production, therefore it makes sense that this program is focused on this province as a start. Considering how Pakistan is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, for the past few years the country has witnessed extreme weather patterns that have affected its crops and driven it toward food insecurity.

Keeping this in mind, the program will provide training to small- and medium-sized farm owners on water conservation and more sustainable, climate-resilient agricultural practices, including for women. Adopting a gendered lens to this issue is essential given how female farmers have assumed a growing share of responsibility for agriculture in Punjab, yet there are several factors leading to their lower productivity. The statistics reveal that approximately 74 percent of women depend on agriculture as a source of livelihood, but only 40 percent are formally employed. Additionally, half of the rural women are engaged as farm and family labour and around 75 percent of these receive no payment for their work.

Overall, this initiative should have positive environmental and social impacts in contributing towards resource efficiencies, livelihood improvements, crop productivity, targeting small farmers and farmers in underserved areas, and reducing conveyance and application water losses. The agriculture sector has an opportunity to both build climate resilience and improve economic conditions by generating access to domestic and international markets. As per reports, the US is also interested in exploring new ways and means to help the country in the agricultural sector, particularly in research for developing new varieties of major crops. While of course we will need external technical assistance and support from the private sector to successfully oversee such climate adaptation initiatives, it is imperative for the government to augment and build upon these initiatives as this is going to be a long term project and there is a lot that needs to be done on a very large scale.

Source: https://nation.com.pk/2022/07/18/adapting-agriculture/

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