Climate change is here and adversely impacting several sectors, including agriculture in countries like India. The ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) says the country is able to insulate agriculture from the adverse effects of climate change.

“In the last three years, we released over 700 climate smart varieties in difrferent crops. The fract that wheat continues to perform well is because of the climate smart varieties that we have developed. Currently about 70 per cent of the wheat area in the country is cultivated with heat tolerant and other climate smart varieties,” Himanshu Pathak, Secretary of DARE and Director-General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, told businessline.

“One of the reasons the yields and productivity were not impacted in the last two years despite the changes in climate is the climate smart varieties. This year also we are predicting very good yields of wheat,” he said.

Pathak was here to take part in the two-day national seminar on smart technologies for sustainable agriculture and environment at the ICAR-CRIDA (Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture). “Similarly, we have 30-40 varieties in rice that can withstand submergence,” he said.

Millet varieties

Tara Satyavathi, Director of ICAR-Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR), said out of the 700 climate smart varieties, 40-45 varieties were in millets.

“The country made strides in agriculture. Despite these successes it faces several challenges, including water scarcity and labour shortage. To address all these challenges, we need new technologies and smart technologies. We need to integrate our traditional farming with modern science and modern technologies,” Pathak said.

“These interventions will help vast majority of farmers will be able to improve productivity of the crops and profitability. Today’s agricultural research and development, we need to imbibe all good aspects of other disciplines including phyisics,” he said.

 “We are promoting digital agriculture. We are doing it in every aspect of agriculture, including sowing of seeds, harvesting, processing and marketing – in all area new technologies are coming,” said Pathak.

“Drones have become a common feature. AI in every aspect of agriculture is happening. All climate resilient technologies are on the farmers’ field,” he said.

The D-G said ICAR was promoting physics in agriculture. “Components of physics will help agriculture in the changing the agricultural scenario. This is more important as we talk about digital agriculture, artificial intelligence, remote sensing and drones in agriculture,” he said.

“It is almost impossible to go ahead with modern agriculture without physics,” he said.