As Pakistan votes, farmers want climate change action - not words

(Context, 6 Feb 2024) Pakistan's parties are promising climate action ahead of Thursday's election, but will they deliver for those most at risk?

Tending to his wilting wheat crop after months of drought and smog, Pakistani farmer Aamer Hayat Bhandara said his biggest hope for Thursday's election is that whoever wins makes good on a flurry of campaign promises to tackle climate change.

The two frontrunners - the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) - have both proposed similar climate policies in their manifestos, highlighting growing concern about the effects of global warming after devastating 2022 floods.

"The smog and absence of rain for three consecutive months robbed crops of sunlight ... and caused rust - or fungal infection - on wheat," said Bhandara, 38, a farmer in Punjab province and co-founder of the Agriculture Republic think-tank, which represents small- and medium-scale farmers. 

He said changing climate patterns had shortened winters and stretched summers, with heatwaves impacting his rice and corn crops, while untimely rains and hailstorms have battered his wheat harvests.

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Context, 6 Feb 2024: As Pakistan votes, farmers want climate change action - not words