The town of Kunri, Pakistan, is famous for chili farming and is home to one of the largest chili markets in the world.
But in recent years, extreme heat and flooding have destroyed much of farmers’ harvests, impacting the livelihoods “of about 30,000 people,” one trader said.
Farmers expect to save just 30% of their chili crops this year — and that’s after the coronavirus already set back business by three years.
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Nearly 25,000 sacks of chilis are bought and sold every day at this wholesale market in southern Pakistan, one of the largest chili markets in the world.
But in recent years, harvests in the town of Kunri have gone down. Farmers say climate change is taking a severe toll.
Kunri is especially famous for a pepper known as the ‘longi’ or ‘gol’ chili.
Pakistan is the fourth-largest producer of chilis in the world, but the crop needs the right amount of rain to thrive. Last year’s extreme heat led to the harvest falling by 40% compared to 2018.
Source: The News International
Then, after months of extreme heat, Kunri and other parts of Pakistan saw the worst monsoon rains in 90 years in August.
Source: Democracy Now
Chili farmers expect to save only 30% of their crop this year — a devastating blow to their incomes.
Traders at the wholesale market also suffered losses.
“I think about 3,000 people work at this wholesale chili market. And probably each person who works here has 10 family members to support. So that means this market is responsible for the livelihood of about 30,000 people,” chili trader Mohammad Saleem told Business Insider Today.
Saleem has been working for decades at the wholesale market, where farmers bring in their harvests and workers pack it into sacks by hand. Each bag holds nearly 28 kilograms of peppers and fetches about 15,000 rupees, the equivalent of $90.
Business came to a standstill because of the coronavirus, which forced the market to close earlier this year. “It set back our business by three years. We suffered big losses,” chili trader Nadeem Kumbar said.
When it comes to climate change, things are only expected to get worse. By 2050, annual average temperatures in Pakistan are projected to increase by 2.5 degrees Celsius, which means deadly heat waves and floods could happen every year, giving farmers more cause for concern.
Source: The World Bank
It’s another example of the changing climate’s immediate impact on the planet and people’s livelihoods.
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