As global temperatures see unprecedented growth and the threat of climate change intensifies, Pakistan, the fifth most vulnerable country to climate change as per the Global Climate Risk Index, partners up with China to mitigate the effects of the burgeoning climate change crisis on the country. The National Natural Science Foundation (NSDC) of China and Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) have stepped up cooperation to establish a model to study climate change’s corresponding impact on cotton and wheat production and develop and put forth recommendations to tackle this crisis.
The cotton processing and its affiliated textile industries’ exports amount to almost half of Pakistan’s total exports. In today’s highly competitive global market, the cotton and wheat industry need to improve productivity and maximize value addition in order to be able to survive. As cotton is the country’s principal industrial crop, a step to preserve the industry is warranted and long-awaited.
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The announcement of increased cooperation was made by Zhang Rui, a PhD supervisor at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences Biotechnology Research Institute, during the international training workshop titled ‘Climate Smart Water Fertiliser Intelligent System for Cotton and Wheat.’ The workshop was organized by the University of Agriculture, Multan.
The cooperation between the two countries would enhance the use of modern technology such as genetic engineering, drip irrigation, and other intelligent systems to increase cotton yield without reducing lint quality.
Currently, Pakistan faces a lack of a framework to support the cotton industry. The food secretary recently pointed out the lapse in the regulatory framework and called for a restructuring to support local markets.
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The rise in temperature due to climate change is a risk to cotton production, especially because of its overreliance on water. In China, the average annual temperature rose by 0.24 degrees Celcius in the last decade, resulting in extreme weather like high precipitation and drought. In response, the cooperation between China and Pakistan was stepped up “to research and introduce new climate-smart systems to support the production of these crops,” said Zhang Rui.