Climate change is expected to reduce wheat yield by 19.3 per cent in 2050 and 40 per cent in 2080, while rice yield could drop by 3.5 per cent and 5 per cent during the same time, according to climate change impact assessment made by the Centre.

However, he said, the Centre has formulated schemes to make agriculture more resilient to climate change.

Replying to a query on the impact of climate change on agriculture in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, said the Centre is aware about the impact of climate change on agriculture and farmers’ lives.

Stating that extensive field and simulation studies were carried out in agriculture by the network centres located in different parts of the country, he said the climate change impact assessment was carried out using the crop simulation models by incorporating the projected climates of 2050 and 2080.

In absence of adoption of adaptation measures, rain-fed rice yields in India are projected to reduce by 20 per cent in 2050 and 47 per cent in 2080 scenarios, while irrigated rice yields are projected to reduce by 3.5 per cent in 2050 and 5 per cent in 2080 scenarios.

He said climate change is projected to reduce the kharif maize yields by 18 per cent and 23 per cent in 2050 and 2080 scenarios, respectively.

The National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) is one of the missions within the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) to mitigate climate risks. The mission aims at evolving and implementing strategies to make Indian agriculture more resilient to the changing climate.

To meet the challenges of sustaining domestic food production in the face of changing climate, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) launched a network research project — ‘National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture’ (NICRA) — in 2011.

He said the project aims to develop and promote climate resilient technologies in agriculture, which addresses vulnerable areas of the country and the outputs of the project help the districts and regions prone to extreme weather conditions like droughts, floods, frost, heat waves, etc., to cope with such extreme events.

Short-term and long-term research programmes with a national perspective have been taken up involving adaptation and mitigation covering crops, horticulture, livestock, fisheries and poultry, he said.

Onions procurement

In a separate reply to a question on assistance to onion farmers in the wake of crash in the price of the commodity, Tomar said the government has taken a decision to procure 2.50 lakh tonnes of rabi 2023 onion to stabilise the prices during lean season through central nodal agencies (CNAs) such as National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (Nafed) and National Cooperative Consumers Federation (NCCF) in equal halves.

Prices of onion have fallen below ₹10 a kg in major mandis in Nashik belt of Maharashtra in recent weeks due to the bumper arrival of late kharif crop and expected early arrival of rabi crop.

The government has directed NAFED and NCCF to initiate procurement of onion from these markets for simultaneous disposal in consumption centres outside Maharashtra.

He said Nafed has commenced its procurement on February 24, and NCCF from February 28. As on date, both CNAs have procured total quantity of 12,950 tonnes (Nafed - 9,749 tonnes and NCCF 3201 tonnes), he said.

No plan to ban harvesters

When a member wanted to know if the government is planning to ban harvesters in the wake of pollution due to stubble burning, the minister said there is no proposal for banning the use of combine harvesters.

The modern agricultural machines such as combine harvesters reduce the drudgery of the human beings and draught animals, ensure timeliness of harvesting operations, enhance the precision and efficiency of harvesting and reduce losses. The combine harvesters have a higher cutting height when compared with other harvesting methods.

However, the machines such as straw reapers, forage harvesters, slashers, balers and rakes are already being used by the farmers for taking out the residues left behind by the combine harvesters, he said.