Agriculture employs 42.3% of the Pakistan’s workforce and contributes 21% to gross domestic product (GDP), making potential climate impacts and adaptation needs in the sector a high priority. The five most important crops in the country, wheat, rice, cotton, sugarcane, and maize, are grown predominantly by subsistence farmers, and a large proportion of the nation’s agricultural land is degraded. Around 80% of Pakistan’s agricultural production area is irrigated. Damage to key cash crop yields such as cotton, is a particular concern. Pakistan is the fifth largest producer of cotton in the world—the industry contributes 10% of the country’s GDP and employs approximately 30% of the country’s farmers, many of whom are rural women. Studies suggest Pakistan’s crops are highly sensitive to changes in temperature and water availability, and that temperature rises in the region of 0.5–2°C could lead to around an 8–10% loss in yield. Many crops are particularly sensitive to extreme heats and days of T>35°C are projected to increase in frequency. With the exception of the northern mountainous region, projected yield declines are widespread, particularly for crops such as cotton, wheat, sugarcane, maize, and rice. The impacts of climate change on the livestock sub-sector are less clear and further study is required.
This section provides insights into the climate change impacts on agricultural productivity indicators and the trends in agriculture related socio-economic indicators.