Climate Based Agro Ecological Zones developed for KP

PESHAWAR: The climate change centre at the University of Agriculture, Peshawar in collaboration with the Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation (HSI) Pakistan and Meteorological department, Government of Pakistan has successfully developed Climate Based Agro Ecological Zones (AEZs) for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The new zones will replace earlier zones defined by FAO back in 1970s.

The climate based AEZs were presented in a national level workshop held at University of Agriculture, Peshawar (UAP).

The workshop was chaired by Prof. Dr. Zahoor Ahmad Swati, Vice Chancellor UAP and Mohammad Israr Khan, Secretary to government of KP; Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperation Department. Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Noor P. Khan, Dr. Arjumand Nizami, Country Director HSI, Deans, Chairmen, Director Generals various departments including Pakistan Forest Institute, Agriculture Research System, Livestock and Dairy Development Department, Nadeem Bukhari Team Leader, Dr. Jawad Ali Advisor, Directors of P&D and VC Secretariat, officers of relevant provincial departments, Professors and delegates from NCA, FFC and other organizations attended the consultation workshop.

Prof. Dr. Mohammad Zulfiqar Director Climate Change Centre stated that

with changing climate scenario the farming community is hit the most and climate based Agro-ecological zoning is a timely initiative which would help plan in adaptation of measures by the farmers.

He said that an effective adaptation of and climate based

Agro-ecological zoning could help in poverty reduction and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Prof Dr. Zahoor Ahmad Swati, Vice Chancellor stated that Pakistan being

an agrarian country is most vulnerable to climate change. The climate based AEZs would help greatly in conducting relevant research and creation of appropriate technologies for extension to the farming community.

He further said that FAO did a great job in 1970 by establishing

geographic based AEZs. However, with the passage of time particularly changing climate has brought many variations and refinement of FAO established AEZs was direly needed to minimized adverse impacts of climate change on farming community and food security of the country.

Mohammad Israr Khan, Secretary Agriculture, in his address stated that

the provincial government and agriculture department is vigilantly pursuing the mission of facilitating farming community and improving agriculture sector productivity to address poverty and food security issues in the province.

He valued the development of improved version of existing AEZs that will

play a vital role in development planning of the department particularly in the wake of changing climate.

Dr. Arjumand Nizami, Country Director HSI, briefed about the background

of the workshop and contribution of various stakeholders in the process of defining these zones. She stated that the basis of these AEZs is the FAO established AEZs of 1970s. She further said that Helvetas has been working for the betterment of farming community of KP since long and refinement of AEZs is a great step in the same direction.

Thereafter a detailed presentation on newly defined Climate based AEZs

was made by Nadeem Bukhari. He informed that the challenges and threats to local crops and livelihoods caused by changing climate will be transformed into opportunities through new AEZs. While evolving new AEZs we benefitted from advanced applications of; potential land suitability and productivity, estimation of arable land, population supporting capacity, land-use planning, land degradation risk assessment, land management, livestock forage balance assessment, farming system analysis, agriculture technology transfer and climate change adaptation planning.

Dr. Jawad Ali informed that evolution of new AEZs is a joint

collaboration of Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation Pakistan, Climate Change Centre of the University of Agriculture Peshawar, Meteorological Department of Pakistan, National University of Science and Technology (NUST) Islamabad and KP Agriculture Department. He thanked all the collaborative partners and hoped that their efforts will serve the national cause of adaptation to climate change.

Concluding the workshop, Prof. Dr. Noor Khan Pro Vice Chancellor

appreciated the efforts of the Climate Change Centre UAP and Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation Pakistan for working on important area which has implications for our crops & livestock productivity in view of changing climatic conditions. He emphasised that there should be an ongoing research process to update to AEZs after every 10 years in the wake of emerging new scenarios and shifts in temperature and precipitation patterns due to climate change.