Early Drought Warning Helps Farmers Switch Crops Before it's Too Late
Like his farming neighbours, Bilal Khan plants wheat in late October or early November each year, and harvests and sells his winter crop a few months later.
But this year, there are no wheat stalks are to be seen on his 3 hectares (5 acres) of land in Rawat, a town some 12 miles (20 km) from Islamabad, Pakistan's capital.
Instead, Khan is growing onions, potatoes, cauliflower, cabbage and carrots.
In late October, the Pakistan Meteorological Department informed Khan and other farmers that no rain was forecast for the crucial wheat-growing months of November and December in parts of northern Pakistan that rely solely on rain-fed agriculture.