Preparing for a challenge
By Muhammad Adnan
is a very clear and direct connection between climate change
and our agriculture and textile industry that must be looked
Pakistan is one of the countries which are extremely
vulnerable to climate change.
That is partly due to lack of resources to respond to
Itís becoming a great challenge for Pakistan not only for
environment issues but for social and economic development
as well.Due to the effects of climate change, Pakistan has
seen a number of catastrophic episodes during the past few
Including drought in 2000,
heavy rainfall in 2001, glacier melting in 2008, and floods
in 2010-12. The intensity of these events, which are
increasing overtime, is leaving millions of people at risk.
The changes in environment in
Pakistan is making significant impacts on major sectors of
Pakistan economy, including industry, agriculture,
fisheries, biodiversity, community health, tourism,
business, forests, transport and public services, etc.
The agriculture sector in Pakistan is highly vulnerable to
climate change and it has been badly affected during the
past 3-4 years. Among all crops, the cotton crop is the
major crop damaged by floods.
Pakistan is the 4th largest grower of cotton after the US,
China, and India and 3rd largest consumer of cotton.
According to the Economic
Survey of Pakistan 2013-14, cotton has a share of 1.4 per
cent in GDP and 6.7 per cent in agriculture value addition.
It is an important source of raw material to the textile
The economic activities in Pakistan are influenced
significantly by the textile sector as the sector directly
contributes to the domestic production, financial services,
and foreign exchange earnings, accounting to 8 per cent of
Cotton is the lifeline of the textile market of Pakistan.
Letís now see the vulnerabilities of cotton crop and the
textile industry of Pakistan to climate change.
There are various factors
which are responsible of fall in cotton yield during the
past few years in Pakistan. The cotton production has
decreased due to the rise in temperature, floods,
unpredictable rainfall pattern, etc.
Textile sector of Pakistan is
entirely dependent on the raw materials of cotton crops and
the textile industry of Pakistan was suffered due to the
back to back floods 2010-12.
Around 2 million bales of cotton were destroyed by floods,
leaving the businessmen to bear the burden of higher price
of imported cotton.
The Economic Survey of Pakistan 2010-11 states that the
prices of cotton started increasing sharply from October
2010 (PKR 7,150 per maund) and touched a 150-year record
level in March 2011 (PKR 12,500 per maund) on the back of
both supply and demand factors.
The 2010-12 floods made a
substantial negative effect on the economy of Pakistan with
lasting long term impact.
Due to a decrease in cotton production the textile
industries of the country had to rely on the import of
cotton. Around 2 million bales of cotton were destroyed by
floods, leaving the businessmen to bear the burden of higher
price of imported cotton.
This also increased the
overall import bill of Pakistan during 2010-2012.
Climate change is affecting not only the textile sectorís
productivity but also making effects on Pakistan economy in
importing and exporting textile goods in order to maintain a
reasonable balance of trade.
There are no proper studies available on impacts of climate
change on textile markets in Pakistan. Particularly, one
canít have data on the impacts of climate change on lower,
middle and upper level farmers of cotton crops which are
affecting from climate change.
Studies are also not available on the adaptive capacity of
these farmers regarding their response to climate change.
Adding to this, no proper
research is available that discusses the vulnerabilities of
climate change to cotton, yarn, and textile markets of the
The lower and middle level producers/exporters of textile
products are also being affected by climate change.
The question that is yet to
be answered is whether these producers/exporters have the
capacity to import raw cotton in order to complete their
The livelihood of a huge population of the country is
associated with the textile sector and again no proper
evidence or research is available on how many livelihoods
(of daily wage workers) are associated with the textile
sector due to climate change.
There is a large chunk of female cotton pickers associated
with cotton picking and also a large number of females are
associated with the manufacturing of textile products, so it
should be also seen to what extent these females are
There is a need to improve the adaptive capacity of
institutions working for the mitigation of climate change.
The government seriously needs to address the highlighted