Farming & Livestock Programme
Farmers in Pakistan are suffering tremendously due to climate change and the onslaught of severe droughts that has plagued the country for the last decade. Severe drought not only results in crop failure but death to livestock and this in turn has a knock on effect on hundreds of families in rural towns and villages.
Independent family farmers are the pillars of their communities. The food they grow and the livestock they raise provides sustenance for the whole family as well as self-sustainability as farmers can sell their produce to the marketplace. In 2000, severe drought hit parts of Pakistan. In the Province of Balochistan over 1.2 million people in the province were directly affected by drought. Millions of animals across Pakistan also perished.
One of the worst-affected areas was near the Baloch town of Nushki, which lies close to the border with Afghanistan. Nushki has had just 5 mm of rain in the last four years and that has pushed many families to the limit. As with so many towns and rural villages across Pakistan, when the traditional water sources run dry the livestock that people depend on end up perishing in large numbers.
It is estimated that in 2000 half the livestock around Nushki had perished. According to news reports in January 2010 (IRIN) drought-like conditions are occurring across Pakistan in months of December and January which are normally rainy seasons. These conditions are worrying wheat farmers who fear large-scale crop failure.
“Things are looking dismal right now. The wheat crop, sown late last year, needs to be watered. It is our main crop of the year. The lack of rain is a disaster for those of us who depend on wheat,” Muhammad Fiaz, a farmer from the Vehari area of Punjab Province told IRIN.
“A shortage of wheat is devastating for us. Our children depend on ‘roti’ [flat bread]. I remember how hard it was to feed them when ‘atta’ [wheat flour] prices rose steeply in 2008,” said Humaira Bibi, a mother of four.
According to FAO GLOBAL INFORMATION AND EARLY WARNING SYSTEM ON FOOD AND AGRICULTURE WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME 2001 REPORT as part of a wider regional weather phenomenon which has affected a number of countries in South Asia and the Near East, a prolonged drought has seriously affected crop and livestock production in Pakistan. Last year, Balochistan and parts of Sindh and Cholistan in Punjab Province were particularly affected with serious consequences on the food security of a large segment of the population. The Government’s extensive efforts to reduce the effects of the drought by providing extra resources for food and feed rations, water and veterinary supplies have helped avert a humanitarian disaster, so far. However, continued extended drought conditions in the first half of this year have increased the scale and severity of the problem raising humanitarian concerns that require urgent attention.