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Mapping farmers’ vulnerability to climate change and its induced hazards: evidence from the rice-growing zones of Punjab, Pakistan

Abstract

In developing countries like Pakistan, agriculture constitutes the primary source of support for the majority of rural and the adjacent urban population. Despite the large part it plays in the economy, it faces significant challenges caused by climate change, such as rising temperatures, floods, droughts, and yield losses. In Pakistan, rice, which is the second most essential food crop and livelihood source for the millions of farm households, is facing significant yield reduction due to climate change. It is pertinent to consider the vulnerabilities of farm households and related factors to create a climatic-resilient farming system. The current study is aimed at mapping the vulnerability of rice-growing communities of Punjab province while considering climatic challenges beyond temperatures and rainfall changes. The Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) was calculated for four rice-growing districts of Punjab province using the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s three-indicator approach (sensitivity, exposition, and adaptive capacity). According to the results, farmers in the study area are highly vulnerable to climate change (CCVI 0.81). Specifically, the indices of vulnerability components showed that farmers have a high level of exposure (EVI 0.72) and susceptibility (SVI 0.59) to the climatic uncertainties with the least adaptive capacity (AVI 0.50). Further, the vulnerability analysis across different rice-growing regions showed that farmers, particularly in the low-yield region, are more vulnerable (EVI 0.73, SVI 0.61, AVI 0.49, CCVI 0.85) than the farmers in the high-yield region (EVI 0.71, SVI 0.58, AVI 0.51, CCVI 0.78). These findings imply that regional priority must be given despite the difference in farm performance to reduce production losses. Besides, climate-smart adaptation initiatives should be facilitated at the farm and regional levels through the implementation of appropriate policies and investment plans.

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Availability of data and materials

The datasets used and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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Acknowledgments

This study is a part of Ph.D. research conducted at the College of Humanities and Development Studies, China Agriculture University, Beijing, P.R. China, supported by CGS (Chinese Government Scholarship). We are thankful to the farmers of Punjab province for their support and cooperation during the surveys.

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This research study did not receive any funding.

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N.A.K. conceived this study, performed data collection and analysis, and wrote the article. Q.G. supervised the research, M.A. contributed to the research methodology, and A.A.S. contributed to the manuscript revision. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Qijie Gao.

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Khan, N.A., Gao, Q., Abid, M. et al. Mapping farmers’ vulnerability to climate change and its induced hazards: evidence from the rice-growing zones of Punjab, Pakistan. Environ Sci Pollut Res 28, 4229–4244 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-10758-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-10758-4

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Agriculture
  • Rice growers
  • Exposure
  • Susceptibility
  • Adaptive capacity
  • Punjab
  • Pakistan