Over the past three decades, the production of major crops in the country has fluctuated in view of climate change that has been perceptible through rise in mean temperature and increased frequency of extreme rainfall events.
As per the Ministry of Agriculture data, excess rainfall had affected farmers and crops over 339 lakh hectares were lost due to hydro-meteorological calamities during 2015-16 to 2021-22.
Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Bihar, and West Bengal are the top five States reporting the highest damage to the crops due to flooding and rains. Madhya Pradesh faced massive destruction of crops over 60.47 lakh hectares in 2019-20. About 65 per cent of the total crop damage due to floods in India in the last seven years were reported from these top five States.
West Bengal and Assam are the two States which have reported damage to the crops every year. States including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat are among the top ten States reporting crop losses due to floods. Except 2018-19, even Bihar has reported damage every year during 2015-16 to 2021-22.
Interestingly, Haryana and Jharkhand are the only two States that have not reported any crop loss due to floods during these seven years.
Monsoon rainfall variability
India Meteorological Department (IMD) has carried out an analysis of observed monsoon rainfall variability and changes in of 29 States and Union Territory at district levels, based on the IMD’s observational data for the recent 30 years (1989- 2018) during the Southwest monsoon from June-July-August-September (JJAS).
Five States — Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Meghalaya and Nagaland have shown significant decreasing trends in southwest monsoon rainfall in recent 30 years period (1989-2018).
About the frequency of heavy rainfall days, a significant increasing trend is observed over Saurashtra and Kutch, South-East Rajasthan, North Tamil Nadu, North Andhra Pradesh, and adjoining areas of Southwest Odisha, many parts of Chhattisgarh, Southwest Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Manipur and Mizoram, Konkan and Goa and Uttarakhand.
Water logging tolerant varieties
The Ministry of Agriculture informed Lok Sabha this week that the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has developed and released 41 water logging tolerant varieties/hybrids of different crops for commercial cultivation during 2014-21.
The research is focused on the flood-tolerant varieties which could withstand submergence conditions and enhance productivity.
The Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare is implementing ‘Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana’ since Kharif 2016, along with the ‘Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme’ to provide comprehensive risk cover in the event of crop damage due to natural calamities and preventable risks and provide financial support to the insured farmers against their notified insurance coverage.