It is now undisputed that climate change is the reality, and Pakistan is one of the countries that is most vulnerable to these ever-changing climatic conditions. According to long-term Global Climate Risk Index (GCRI) Pakistan has been ranked 7th most affected country from 1997 to 2016 with total US $ 3816.82 million losses occurred due to climate change. Both the developed and developing face the adverse effects of Climate change but the situation becomes more crucial for developing countries like Pakistan due to their low adaptation capacity.

Pakistan’s economy is largely dependent on agriculture because of its higher contribution in economic growth. Agriculture is the largest sector providing 19.5 % share in annual GDP and 42.3% employment opportunities (GOP, 2017). Despite its high importance, the sector is highly vulnerable to climate induced disasters like floods, rainfall and exceeding temperature than normal range etc..

To tackle the issue of climate change, mitigation efforts are always time consuming, so in a short span of time adaptation to climate change is considered as one of the most suitable policy options. A well-targeted policy always requires a bottom up approach giving due considerations to what people believe; for instance in case of climate change the farmer’s view is very important. With this backdrop in mind a research was conducted in Punjab to bring the farmer’s views in limelight, whom they consider responsible for making any effort to minimise the negative consequences of climate change and whom they trust the most. For this purpose, personal interviews were conducted with 386 farmers from all across Punjab. In the context of environment and climate change the administrative stakeholders are governments, local councils and environmental organisations. The results reveal that government, local councils and business and industry were indicated as highly responsible but on other hand these stakeholders were marked as not trusted at the same time by most of the respondents.

Politically, agriculture sector remained ignorant since many years; that is mirrored in farmers’ views. “No trust” in key stakeholders is also the reflection of poorly implemented climate policy that is further an impediment in sustainable development agenda. Therefore, it is expected that new climate policy should be formulated keeping in view the farmer’s perspective. Quite amazingly the research reveals that although farmers consider environmental organisations the least responsible to combat the issue of climate change but on contrary, they trust these organisations the most in contrast to the government and local councils. It may be due to recent active role of environmental organisations in responding to negative impacts of climate change.

Due to the uncertainty in agriculture sector the climate change issues require flexible solutions instead of some specific way out. However, higher investment in farmers’ education with improved institutional set up will support farmers’ wellbeing.

A better climate change policy based on local perceptions and knowledge with explicit emphasis on climate information dissemination is closely linked to farmers’ welfare. That is further linked to economic development of the country.

 

The writer is a PhD Scholar,

Institute of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.