Scientists concern over impact of climate change on Indian agriculture

Amit Mitra Hyderabad Jan 16 | Updated on January 24, 2018

Scientists and researchers struck a note of concern over the projected impact of climate change on Indian agriculture, especially coastal agriculture, and livestock at the just-concluded international conference on Bio-resource and Stress Management here.

Laxman Singh Rathore, director general of Indian Meteorological Department, set the tone for the discussions by pointing out that mean warming in India is likely to be in the range of 1.7 to 2 degree C by 2030 and 3.3 to 4.8 degree by 2080s, relative to pre-industrial times. “Warming is likely to be more over northern parts of India and a rise in night temperatures is likely across the country, except in some small pockets in the peninsular region. Rainfall is likely to decline 5-10 per cent over southern parts, while an increase of 10-20 per cent is likely over other regions,” he said.

Further, projections of monsoon rainfall pattern over the Indian subcontinent indicate that by 2050, a 10 per cent increase in the amount and intensity of rainfall each are likely due to climate change. A one per cent increase in rainfall intensity is estimated to result in soil loss from crop lands by 1.5 per cent.

“Accelerated soil erosion is going to affect production of 27 major crops, including 10 oil seeds and nine pulses, resulting in a loss of production of 16 per cent, which is roughly about 13.4 million tonnes, with oilseeds accounting for 66 per cent,” Rathore said.

D. Raji Reddy, Director of Research at Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University, says that increase in temperature due to global warming may fall to 58 million tonnes by 2070 from 76 million tonnes in 2000. “Similarly, decrease in apple yield is observed in Himachal Pradesh due to lower cold periods. Also simulated yield of rice under changed climate scenarios indicate decrease in yield by 9.7 and 18.4 per cent with increase in maximum and minimum temperature by one degree C and two degrees,” he pointed out.

Scientists at the Agro Climate Research Centre at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University have projected that productivity of irrigated rice is likely to reduce by four per cent in the coastal areas, while maize and sorghum yields could fall up to 50 per cent in certain areas.

In the light of this, scientists have called for more strategic research to identify the areas prone to climate change, drought patterns, better water management strategies, breeding of climate ready varieties and climate smart agriculture.

Published on January 16, 2015

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