Assessing climatic vulnerability and projecting crop productivity using integrated crop and economic modeling techniques

Wheat, rice and cotton are major crops in Pakistan not only in terms of local consumption but also in view of large exports. These crops are grown on approximately 8.81, 2.37 and 2.69 million hectares of land respectively, with a total production of 24.2 million tons of wheat, 4.8 million tons of rice, and 11.5 million bales of cotton. These crops are grown in different agro-ecological zones of Pakistan. Each zone represents diverse soil, social, hydrological and climatic conditions. The overall goal of the project is the analysis of historic/current climate, as well as crop and economic data to determine the trends of climate change in the region and its likely impact on crop productivity and the economy. This includes calibration and validation of crop models for wheat, rice and cotton, regional economic models, as well as quantification of the spatial and temporal yield variability and yield forecasting under future climate change scenarios.

Expert team of climate, crop, and economic scientists are analyzing the possible impacts of variable and changing climate on wheat, rice and cotton production under the agro-ecological conditions of Pakistan. The AgMIP regional study is anticipated to improve confidence in the performance of climate, crop and economic models by comparing them for the same input conditions utilizing the AgMIP Protocols.

The AgMIP Pakistan Project is led by Dr. A. Ahmad, Professor at Agro-Climatology lab, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (UAF). Additional investigators include Drs. S.A.Wajid, T. Khaliq, M. Ashfaq, and A.R. Sattar, all at UAF; S. Ahmad of Bahauddin Zakariya University; G. Rasul of Pakistan Meteorological Department; and W. Nasim of COMSATS — Institute of Information Technology (Fig.).

The project will enable improved confidence in predictions of likely climate change impacts and will also allow for rigorous analysis and scrutiny of concepts and assumptions underlying each model. Improved understanding of model behavior is likely to be helpful when communicating with the farmers and decision-makers who must plan for the outcomes of changing climate.

In addition to research, regular exchange of information will occur through training activities aimed to enhance skills needed to undertake the work. This includes hands-on sessions in data assessment and management, use of models and other tools, and write-up of results. It also includes training on methods for regional integrated assessments utilizing information from climate, crop, and economic models.

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