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    Climate change makes negative effects on seasonal fruits orchards, vegetables 

    Climate change makes negative effects on seasonal fruits orchards, vegetables 

    PESHAWAR (APP): Highly vulnerable to climate change, Pakistan has witnessed excessive rainfalls last month, which caused negative effects on the overall production of seasonal fruits orchards and vegetables besides adversely affected farmers’ income.

    Breaking the past 63 years rainfalls record, the May 2023 excessive torrential rains coupled with hailstorms have negatively impacted the production of summer fruits including watermelon, melon, banana and mangoes besides tomato and others seasonal vegetables in the country including Khyber Pakthunkhwa.

    The Met Office spokesman told APP on Tuesday that the national rainfall recorded last month was excessively high and above average i.e plus 127pc and stands second wettest rainfall in May during the past 63 years as 34.30 mm rainfall was recorded in 1987.

    Agriculture Department official told APP on Tuesday that the record breaking rainfall and hailstorms has badly affected production of watermelon and melon in Charsadda, Nowshera, Swabi, Mardan and DI Khan districts.

    He said that the standing rains water in low laying areas has slowed down pace of growth of watermelon and melon in agriculture fields and started dying forcing affected farmers for its premature cultivation to avoid huge financial losses.

    In Chamkani fruit market, one kilogram mango was being sold at Rs150 to Rs200, watermelon at Rs50-70 and melon at Rs80-100 per KG. 

    Malayar Khan, a progressive farmer of Mohib Banda Nowshera said that he had cultivated melon and watermelon on five acres of land that were badly affected by the last month torrential rains. He said that farmers of watermelon and others seasonal vegetable and fruits received huge losses and demanded compensation.

    Dr Muhammad Naeem, Assistant Professor of Economics and Agriculture, University of Swabi said that watermelon, mangoes, banana and melons orchards were highly vulnerable to climate change.

    He said that fluctuation in rainfalls, glacial retreats, floods, higher average temperature and frequency of droughts were causing negative effects on agriculture and fruits productivity in the country.

    He feared that crop yields were likely to decrease in the upcoming years not only because of flooding and torrential rainfalls, but also due to rise in temperatures and deforestration that would caused rapid melting of glaciers in high all pasture zones besides dropping of water table.

    He said about 55.87% watermelon was produced in Punjab, 21.29% in Baluchistan, 10.29% in Sindh and 11.84% in KP and its production was on the decline side due to climater change and fluctuation in weather patterns.

    He said fertile land was mostly required for watermelon and melons having 1200 variants growing in more than 96 countries including Pakistan and in case of excessive rainfalls and glaciers outburst its production were affected. He said that climate change, deforestation and global warming besides soil erosion could be countered through whopping plantation.

    Muhammad Ibrahim Khan, Deputy Project Director, 10 billion trees afforestration project told APP on Tuesday that Pakistan was among  10 countries mostly affected by the climate change and large scale plantation was the only viable option to counter its negative effects on humans, wildlife, aquatic and agriculture crops.

    He said climate change is expected to increase the frequency of heavy precipitation in the country especially in KP, which can harm agriculture crops by eroding soil and depleting soil nutrients. He said that heavy rains can also increase agricultural runoff into oceans, lakes, and streams that can harm water quality and negatively impacted wildlife and aquatic resources, adding water table is dropping with each passing year due to excessive water waste by the car washing stations and glaciers melting.

    To counter climate change and deforestration, he said billion trees afforestration project was launched in 2014 under which around 1.20 billion saplings were planted in Khyber Pakthunkhwa.

    Following it successful completion first phase, he said the program was extended to all provinces of Pakistan in 2018 where 10 billion plants including additional one billion in KP would be planted to offset the effects of climate change.

    He said the project was being implemented by the Ministry of Climate Change along with provincial forest departments.  Ibrahim said the program was aimed to revive forest and wildlife resources besides improving the overall conservation of the existing protected areas; encourage eco-tourism, agriculture production enhancement, community engagement and job creation through the conservation.

    In Khyber Pakthunkhwa, he said that 690.16 million plants including 352 million through 6081 enclosures and 337.06 million through farm forestry under the 10 billion trees afforestation project till April 30, 2023.

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