Heat-resistant mustard debuts in southern India

Heat-resistant mustard debuts in southern India

Sandip Das | New Delhi, Jan 4: 2014

Traditionally grown in Rajasthan, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, the heat and drought-tolerant mustard varieties developed by public sector institutions in the last few years have made a debut in the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka in the current rabi, or winter season.

The two heat-resistant varieties, Pusa 21 & 29, developed by Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), an institute under the ministry of agriculture, has been sown on trial basis in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka this season.

The two mustard varieties possess not only ability to withstand higher temperatures in October, when sowing usually commences, but also possess low erucic acid, which reduces pungency in the oil and is considered healthy.

“We grew these two heat resistant varieties in our research stations located in Tamil Nadu in the last few years and we hope consumers in southern parts of the country would like the less pungent mustard oil from the varieties grown,” DK Yadava, principal scientist, division of genetics, IARI told FE. IARI mustard varieties have more than 56% share in total breeder seed market.

If the new varieties are accepted by farmers in the southern India, the country’s annual mustard production is expected to rise sharply during next few years, which may reduce dependence on the edible oil import.

The country’s annual mustard production has been in the range of 6.6 million tonne to about 8 million tonne in the last five years.

The production has been sustained mainly due to early sown heat and drought tolerant varieties such as Pusa mustard 25, 27, 28, besides Vijay, Mahak and Agrani developed by IARI.

“Mustard has been largely grown in largely rainfed regions of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh because it could be grown with lesser number of irrigation,” Yadava noted.

A senior official with agriculture ministry said average temperature prevalent in the northern India in the month of October has increased by about 2 degree centigrade in the last one decade.

The early sown (September) variety of the crop, mostly developed by IARI and state government-owned institutions, have been helping farmers dealing with rise in temperature.

“Seed varieties developed for dealing with

climactic variations such as salinity, drought and heat have given wider choices to farmers in the northern parts of the country and this could be replicated in the southern India as well,” agriculture ministry official said.

The government has increased minimum support price (MSP)

for mustard to R3,000 per quintal this year from R2,500 per quintal in 2012-13.

The role of mustard in the country’s edible oil sector is vital as it contributes about 20% of total production. The country is self sufficient in mustard production and a smaller quantity is exported.

Most of the country’s mustard oil consumption is based in eastern and northern parts of the country. Besides being used for cooking, mustard oil is used for preparation of hydrogenated fats (vansapati) and the residue (oilmeal) is used for poultry feed.

Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat are major mustard producing states. Rajasthan produces 44% of the country’s mustard output. Globally, India accounts for 19% and 11% of the total acreage and production.

India’s Genebank identifies core wheat genes for development of varieties to deal with climate change

India’s gene bank identified core genes which would help in development of new varieties of wheat, rice and vegetables which would withstand climatic variations.

Sandip Das
New Delhi, Jan 1:

Following three years of research, National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) has identified core genes which would help in development of new varieties of wheat, rice and vegetables which would withstand climatic variations.

These varieties, identified from the four lakh accessions held with NBPGR or the national gene bank, would help deal with variations in temperatures, rainfall and alternations in climate conditions witnessed during the last few years.

To start with, new wheat varieties developed through identifying around 2000 core genes from 25,000 accessions have been tested in hotspots such as Gurdaspur (Punjab), Cooch Behar (West Bengal) and Issapur farm (Delhi), in a move prior to transferring them to state-owned breeders for multiplication — for seed development purposes. These core genes are capable of capturing various genetic traits available in the bank.

This assumes significance because due to rising demand, the country needs to increase wheat production gradually. In 2012-13, the country produced 92 million tonne of wheat.
However according to an official with Karnal-based Directorate of Wheat Research (DWR), fluctuations in temperature and possibility of yellow rust attack pose a challenge for scientists to sustain and increase wheat production at the current level.

“We are evaluating the performance of core genes thro-ugh field trials before transferring it to breeders for further multiplication,” KC Bansal, director, NBPGR, told FE.

The trials in Gurdaspur are focussing on the varieties of the deadly yellow rust which impacts the wheat crop virtually every year. The experimentation at Cooch Behar is focussed on dealing with blight and the gene bank’s own farm at Issapur is working on developing heat tolerant varieties.

The seed breeder with the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) has been invited to visit the field trial spots for evaluating performance.

Currently, according to regulations, the germplasm held with the gene bank is only shared with state-owned research institutes.

Similar experimentation on developing a core rice gene is also being undertaken by the gene bank Of the total collection of germplasm with the genebank, about 90,000 belongs to rice varieties. Others include wheat (25,000), vegetables (24,000), oilseeds (55,000) and pulses (50,000). The traits of these crops arekept in a genebank in the form of seeds.
NBPGR has collected genes of around 1,500 crop species, including ornamental, oilseeds and medicinal. But the majority of them, which are critical to food and nutritional security, will be around 15-20.

The bureau has prioritised 15 categories, including rice, wheat, maize, pearl millet, finger millet, chick pea, mustard, okra, brinjal and mango, for gene preservation initiatives.
The bank had started the exercise of collecting germplasm in 1976-77 from all over the country. In 1996-97, the premier institute collected the highest number of germplasms (close to one lakh) under a mission-mode programme.

Top agricultural scientists associated with the characterisation drive by the gene bank say the purpose was to help breeders in providing them with large genetic variability which helps in quality seed development.

Hope dashing in droughty Balochistan


QUETTA – Climatic change and long drought not only dashed the dreams of Dad Muhammad but also inflicted an irreparable financial losses on him when his lush green apple garden starching over 80-acres, in Dasht area of Mastung district of Balochistan, dried before his very eyes.
Dad Muhammad, 75, a resident of Nushki district always got dejected whenever he passed through the Dasht area where he had planted over 3,000 apple trees irrigated by tubewells. He paid special attention to his apple garden but after eight years when the trees began producing fruits, the sub-soil water dropped to an alarming level.
“We dug over 13 tubewells during 8 year period and the water level kept dropping and at one stage we became completely helpless when even after digging 1200-feet tubwell could not find water, ultimately the trees got dried in increasing temperature and we had no other option but to cut them down,” he recalls.
Dad Muhammad is still working hard to recover his losses concentrating more on business instead of agricultural sector.
Like Dad Muhammad hundreds of farmers who made investment and planted apple gardens met the same fate when Balochistan and its neighboring countries Iran and Afghanistan faced a famine like situation due to lack of rain in the region.
The draught that hit Balochistan from 1997 to 2003 is said to be one of the worst in the history of the province which destroyed fruits garden particularly that of apple in Mastung, Kalat, Ziarat, Muslim Bagh, Zhob, Loralai and other areas.
A survey reveals that over 80 per cent apple trees and orchards in Balochistan were destroyed by the long draught and apple production fall by 35 per cent. Balochistan has 65 per cent share in the country’s apple production and Pakistan is the 10th largest producer of apples in the world.
A research conducted by Agriculture Department of Balochistan two years back shows over 60 per cent reduction has been noticed in apple other fruits and dry fruits from different parts of Balochistan.
“In the last decade of 1990 and onward the drought destroyed gardens of apple, cherry, apricot and other fruits in several districts of Balochistan forcing farmers to cut down the dried trees,” says Saeed Ahmed Agricultural officer, adding that during the last couple of decades draught and erratic rains the apple trees suffered a lot since they need more water and cool climate as compared to other trees.
Malik Muhammad Paana, an agriculturist, says no doubt the drought badly affected apple and other fruit gardens but in the past two decades extra-ordinary variation was observed in temperature patterns.

Climate change to hit yields of India’s rice, wheat & maize, help soyabean, groundnut and potato

India’s agriculture ministry has projected a decline in yield of crops such as rice, wheat, maize and sorghum……increase in output of soyabean, groundnut and potato

Sandip Das

New Delhi, Dec 19:

With wide variations in climatic conditions becoming a frequent phenomenon, the agriculture ministry has projected a decline in yield of crops such as rice, wheat, maize and sorghum. However, it expects output of soybean, groundnut and potato to rise by 2030 and beyond.

Under the ‘National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture’, scientists project that while the yield of rice grown under irrigated areas is likely to decline by 4%, 7% and 10% by 2020, 2050 and 2080, respectively, the yield of maize, which has seen a quantum jump in production in the last few years, would see a sharp fall of 18% by 2020 and 2050, and about 23% by 2080.

“Rainfed rice yield in India is likely to be lower by close to 6% by 2020 but, in 2050 and 2080 scenarios, the output is projected to decrease only marginally,” a report by Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) has stated.

“Overall, temperature increases are predicted to reduce rice yields. An increase of 2- 4ºC is predicted to result in a reduction in yields.The eastern regions are predicted to be the most impacted by increased temperatures and decreased radiation, resulting in relatively fewer grain and shorter grain-filling durations,” a scientist with Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI), a premier body under the ministry of agriculture, noted.

The country produced 104.4 million tonne (mt) of rice in 2012-13, with around 44 million hectare of land under cultivation. This year, the storm that lashed many districts of Punjab in September and the severe cyclonic storm, Phalin, which hit Orissa and Andhra Pradesh’s coast, impacted paddy cultivation in three states, an agriculture ministry official told FE.

In the case of wheat, the report projects a 6% reduction in irrigated wheat by 2020 from the existing levels.

“Increases in temperature by about 2ºC reduce potential grain yields in most places. Regions with higher potential productivity, such as northern India, were relatively less impacted by climate change than areas withlower potential productivity, such as eastern India,” the study stated. The country produced 92 mt of wheat in 2012-13.

Similarly, for maize, agricultural scientists have projected an 18% reduction in yield of kharif output by 2020 and 2050, and a huge 23% cut by 2080 due to climate change.According to agriculture ministry data, the country produced a record 22 mt maize in 2012-13.

ICAR, which functions under the ministry of agriculture, conducted climate- change impact analysis on crop yields using crop simulation models incorporating future projections for 2020, 2050 and 2080. However, the study projected increases in kharif soybean yield of 8% and 13% by 2030 and 2080, respectively. Even the output of groundnut is projected to increase by 4% and 7% in 2020 and 2050, respectively.

Climate change is likely to benefit potato-growers in Punjab, Haryana and western and central Uttar Pradesh, with 3-7% increase in output by 2030.

To deal with the impact of climate change, agricultural scientists have carried out extensive screening of the germplasms of wheat, rice, maize and pulses for developing drought-, heat- and flood-tolerant varieties of seed, the report noted.

National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) focusses on strategic research on adaptation and mitigation of important grain and horticulture crops, livestock and fisheries, demonstration of best technologies in 100 most vulnerable districts to cope with current climate variability and capacity-building of researchers, planners and farmers.

Climatic change and food insecurity

BARI BALOCH July 08, 2013

QUETTA – Ali Bakhsh is an aged farmer, based in Nushki district, which is about 148 kilometers southeast of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, the largest but least developed province of Pakistan.
Ali Bakhsh cultivates mostly wheat, cumin, watermelon and melon in his rain-irrigated lands that bring enough income to him to live a normal life with his family, but now he does not seem happy with farming since he is not able to cultivate wheat nor cumin because of extra-ordinary delay in rain and long draught.
Since last more than one decade, Ali Bakhsh says they are observing drastic change in weather conditions that is inflicting their centuries-old farming which is the mainstay of their economy.
“Our arid lands are stretched over thousands of acres and the source of irrigation is rainwater and tube-wells but because of unusual variation in weather and draughts we are unable to grow wheat, cumin, watermelon and other crops,” he says, adding that these crops used to give a boost to their economy but now they could not even grow wheat to fulfill their needs.
Ali Bakhsh recalls that he had witnessed long droughts consisting ten to 15 years but after long draughts the weather would return in its normal form and the rain would fall timely helping them to cultivate wheat, cumin and other crops.
“In past we have experienced enough rains with the beginning of November which is the best timing for cultivation of wheat and cumin in Nushki and its surrounding districts but during past 8 to 10 years we are going through uneven delay in rains,” he explains.
Like Ali Bakhsh there are hundreds of other farmers whom livelihood is linked with rainwater in most of districts of Balochistan which covers 44 per cent of Pakistan in terms of area and over 80 per cent of its population depends directly or indirectly on agriculture and livestock.
The arid lands of Balochistan which are dependent on rainwater produce thousands of tonnes wheat, cumin, watermelon and melon for the scattered population of Balochistan and farmers not only fulfill their own demands from these yields but also export them to other main cities of the country.
But when draught hits the areas, the farmers not only fall in starvation but are also compel to move to urban areas for search of food that makes their life more miserable.
Muhammad Azeem, another Nushki-based former says if there is timely rain on their apparently barren lands they could produce thousands of tons of wheat that would not only be sufficient for over 0.2 million population of Nushki district but it would also fulfill demands of rest of Balochistan population.
There is a serious shortage of power (energy crises) in the country and because of non-availability of electricity the agriculture sector is facing serious complexity particularly in Balochistan where agriculture in 29 out of 33 districts depends on electricity.
“Since 2001 various districts of Balochistan, including that of district Nushki are virtually passing through a long draught, thus no data of wheat and cumin yield of rain- irrigated lands has been taken,” Sanaullah Badini, an official of agriculture department in district Nushki told The Nation, adding that there are 21 per cent cultivated lands in Nushki which depend on rains while 60 per cent are irrigated through tube-wells.
“Nushki and many other districts have been passing through draught like situation for the last several years. The cycle of rain has also changed manifold as it rains heavily in the month of February instead of November and December which is considered the right time for cultivation of wheat and cumin,” he said, adding that due to variation in the cycle of rain the rain-dependent farmers could not cultivate crops and suffer a lot.
He says rainfall and temperature has a significant effect on wheat crop productivity.
Deputy Director Environmental Protection Agency and renowned environmentalist, Mehboub Baloch says delay in rainfall is all because of climatic change since a number of gasses, including Corbin dioxide and hydrocarbon were contributing in climatic change. “Climate change is a global issue and we have been observing a change in climate in Pakistan particularly in Balochistan and the heavy thunderstorm in Gwadar in 2011 and heavy floods in Naseerabad and Jaffarabad were its main example,” he added.
He says owing to climatic change the agriculture sector is also being affected because of which food insecurity is existing, however, if available water reservoirs are used properly and modern technology of irrigation is adopted the formers would be able to irrigate their lands and could produce maximum food. “Besides cleaning water channels (Karezats) delay-action dames should be constructed and the wastage of rain water should be protected from being wasted,” he added.

जौ व जई से पर्यावरण बचाने की मुहिम

  • संतोष सारंग

ग्लोबल वार्मिंग के बढ़ते ख़तरों को देखते हुए और लोगों में पर्यावरण के प्रति जागरूकता पैदा करने के मकसद से हर साल पांच जून को पर्यावरण दिवस मनाया जाता है। सवाल यह उठता है कि क्या जलवायु परिवर्तन और ग्लोबल वार्मिंग जैसे मुद्दों से निपटने के लिए क्या वैश्विक स्तर पर गंभीर प्रयास हो रहे हैं। पर्यावरण के बिगाड़ का मामला किसी देश या विदेश से नहीं जुड़ा है बल्कि इसको बिगाड़ने में आज छोटे बड़े सभी देश शामिल हैं। ग्रीन हाउस गैसों का उत्सर्जन और तापमान में वृद्धि का सबसे बुरा असर परिस्थितीय तंत्र और जीवन चक्र पर पड़ा है। ग्रीन हाउस गैसों के उत्सर्जन ने पर्यावरण को तो दूषित किया ही है, साथ ही साथ इसने फसल चक्र को भी काफी प्रभावित किया है। सवाल यह उठता है कि पर्यावरण को बचाने के लिए क्या वैश्विक स्तर पर कुछ हो रहा है? क्या हम कभी इस समस्या से निपट पाएंगे? क्या हम अपनी आने वाली पीढ़ी को स्वच्छ वातावरण उपलब्ध करा पाएंगे? वर्तमान परिस्थिति को देखकर तो ऐसा नहीं लगता। हां कुछ लोग ज़रूर हैं जो पर्यावरण को बचाने के लिए प्रयासरत हैं। हमें यह समझना होगा कि पर्यावरण को बचाने की ज़िम्मेदारी सिर्फ केद्र सरकार और राज्य सरकारों की ज़िम्मेदारी नहीं है।

पर्यावरण को स्वच्छ रखना हम सब की ज़िम्मेदारी है। ग्लोबल वार्मिंग का खतरा आज जिस तरह से बढ़ रहा है, उससे कोई अंजान नहीं है। शहर तो शहर, गांव-देहात के लोग भी पर्यावरण संरक्षण की दिशा में थोड़े-बहुत ही सही, पर सोचने लगे हैं। छत्तीसगढ़ में आई विनाशकारी प्राकृतिक आपदा एवं चक्रवाती तूफान फैलिन ने सोए लोगों को जगाया है। सरकारी व गैर सरकारी स्तर पर धरती को बचाने को लेकर चिंता की जा रही है। गत दो-तीन साल से बिहार के समाचार पत्रों ने दीपावली पर केरोसिन व पटाखों का प्रयोग न करने को लेकर स्कूली छात्र-छात्रों व लोगों के बीच अभियान चलाया है। इसका असर भी दिख रहा है। बीते दीपावली पर मुज़फ़्फ़रपुर के छात्र-छात्रों ने पटाखों के पैसे बचा कर एक अस्पताल में भर्ती मरीजों के बीच फल व कपड़े बांट कर पर्यावरण बचाने का संदेश दिया। मोतिहारी में एक स्कूल के बच्चों व प्रबंधन ने मिलकर प्रकाश पर्व दीपावली पर पौधे रोप कर अभियान को आगे बढ़ाया।

जौ और जई से पर्यावरण बचाने का मुहिमपॉलीथिन से मिट्टी, पानी दूषित हो रहा है। इसके अंधाधुंध प्रयोग से नाले, नदियां एवं शहर के ड्रेनेज सिस्टम की सेहत बिगड़ रही है। कागज़ और कपड़े के झोले गायब हो गए। एक समय था जब हम बाज़ार जाते थे, घर से कपड़े का थैला ले जाना नहीं भूलते थे। लेकिन आज हम एक माचिस भी खरीदते हैं, तो दुकानदार से पॉलीथिन मांगना नहीं भुलते हैं। पॉलीथीन के बढ़ते इस्तेमाल से आज घर-घर ,गली-गली ,सड़कों पर पॉलीथिन का कचरा बिखरा पड़ा दिख जाता है। जानवर कूड़े के ढेर पर जूठन या अन्य सामान खाते हैं, वे पॉलीथिन भी खा जाते हैं। यह उसके लिए हानिकारक है। पॉलीथिन के खतरे से निपटने के लिए कई प्रदेशों ने इस पर प्रतिबंध लगाया है। मुज़फ़्फ़रपुर नगर निगम ने हाल में पॉलीथिन के प्रयोग पर प्रतिबंध लगाया है। प्रतिबंध के बावजूद पॉलीथिन का प्रयोग करने वाले दुकानदारों पर जुर्माना लगाया जा रहा है। इस तरह की कार्रवाई के ज़रिए ही हम पॉलीथिन के इस्तेमाल को कम कर सकते हैं।

इधर, कृषि क्षेत्र में भी ग्लोबल वार्मिंग के खतरे से निपटने के लिए कवायद चल रही है। बिहार का कृषि विभाग तापमान को नियंत्रित रखने वाली खरीफ व रबी की चार फसलों जौ, जई, मडुवा व बाजरे से पर्यावरण संरक्षण की मुहिम को तेज करने जा रहा है। राज्य सरकार ने राष्ट्रीय कृषि विकास योजना में इन चारों फसलों को शामिल किया है, ताकि किसान इन फसलों को उगा कर पर्यावरण मित्र की अहम भूमिका निभा सके। दरअसल, जौ व जई की खेती में लागत कम होने के साथ रासायनिक खाद व कीटनाशकों का प्रयोग भी नहीं करना पड़ता है। इन फसलों को पानी भी अधिक नहीं चाहिए। लिहाज़ा इसकी खेती से पानी का बचत भी होगा। इन फसलों को लगाने लिए विभाग ने किसानों को प्रोत्साहन देने का मन बनाया है। जौ व जई की खेती के लिए 1600 रुपए प्रति एकड़ प्रोत्साहन राशि दी जाएगी। मुज़फ़्फ़रपुर के जिला कृषि पदाधिकारी के के शर्मा कहते हैं ‘‘राज्य सरकार ने टीडीसी को जौ व एनएससी को जई का बीज उपलब्ध कराने का निर्देश दिया है।

जौ और जई से पर्यावरण बचाने का मुहिममक्का, धान, गेहूं के मुकाबले इन फसलों में रासायनिक खाद व कीटनाशकों का प्रयोग नगण्य होता है। राज्य सरकार की ओर से इन फसलों को प्रोत्साहन देने का मुख्य उदेश्य किसानों में पर्यावरण के प्रति जागरूकता पैदा करना है। केंद्र सरकार के साथ-साथ राज्य सरकारें पर्यावरण को नुकसान से बचाने के लिए तरह तरह के उपाय कर रही है। लेकिन लोगों में जागरूकता की कमी की वजह से सरकार की ओर से चलाई जा रही पर्यावरण बचाओ मुहिम का फायदा बहुत ज़्यादा नहीं हो पा रहा है। पर्यावरण को साफ सुथरा बनाए रखने के लिए सभी को अपना कर्तव्य समझना होगा और साथ मिलकर काम करना होगा। कहने का तात्पर्य यह है कि अगर पर्यावरण के प्रति हमने संजीदगी न दिखाई तो आने वाला समय भयावक हो सकता है। अब वक्त आ गया है कि सभी राष्ट्र विकसित और विकासशील की श्रेणी से उठकर पर्यावरण खतरे का निदान ढूंढे। हमें पुरानी गलतियों से सीख लेकर एक साथ इस समस्या के निदान के लिए काम करना होगा।

India Water Portal

Weather-based crop cover finds favour with Indian farmers

Sandip Das

New Delhi, Dec 10:

With unpredictable weather conditions, such as erratic rainfall, fluctuations in temperature and changes in relative humidity affecting crop output, the Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (WBCIS) offered by various private and public sector companies is gradually being accepted by farmers seeking protection from crop losses.

The scheme, piloted in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh in rabi of 2007, has, for the first time in the country, given farmers a cover against crop losses from adverse weather conditions.

Provided by Agriculture Insurance Company of India (AICI), a company mainly owned by four state-owned general insurance companies and Nabard, the scheme covers more than 35 perennial crops such as apple, citrus fruit, grapes, mango, pomegranate, cashew nut, oil palm etc.

As per AICI data, the weather-based product scheme, when implemented across 13 states in kharif 2012 and 14 states in rabi 2012-13, had insured 35 lakh and 37 lakh farmer, respectively.

“Although the share of weather-based crop insurance scheme amongst farmers opting for output-based insurance cover is small, it has caught on as it’s easier for the states to administer — we need not do a crop-cutting exercise needed for the implementation of national crop insurance policy. What we need to know is the weather condition of a given area during the life cycle of the crop,” PJ Joseph, chairman and managing director of AICI, told FE.

Joseph said new products like weather -based insurance provide protection to cultivators in the event of a loss in crop yields resulting from adverse weather incidences such as unseasonal or excess rainfall, temperature fluctuations, frost, relative humidity etc. “Triggers are broadly fixed so as to capture the adverse incidence of weather parameters on crop yield,” he said.

“Weather based insurance provides risk management tools for farmers to deal with climate change adaptation initiative,” Pramod Aggarwal, regional programme leader, Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) platform, said. CCAFS has been, in collaboration with AICI, promoting the weather-based insurance among farmers.

So far, only about 30 million farmers out of 120 million have been covered under the National Crop Insurance

Scheme, which mainly covers yield losses. About 70% of these are accounted for by farmers who own less than four hectares.

For the national crop insurance scheme, companies provide coverage based on yield, for which historical yields of the crops concerned are taken into consideration while for weather-based insurance, the historical data of yield is not needed.

The Comprehensive Crop Insurance Scheme (CCIS), introduced in 1985 by the centre in collaboration with state governments, was linked to short-term crop credit, where all loans for notified crops in a specific area were compulsorily covered.

Close to 60 lakh farmers benefited from the CCIS and the majority of claims were paid in states such as Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Orissa.

Climate Change in Shigar Valley

Climate Change in Shigar Valley

Changes in Local Climate – Precipitation and Temperature Analysis


The aspects of changes in local climate that were assessed included the following:

Change in winter temperatures

The climate of Shigar can be classified as dry continental Mediterranean. The general

perception of the community members was that the winter season has become milder and shorter, and summer is now considerably warmer. April and May were characterized by moderate temperatures, while summer season was identified as very hot, with temperatures

reaching about 400C in July.

The respondents reported a definite increase in winter temperatures over the past 5 years. A few villagers, including a village head, reported that minimum winter temperature has

increased from about -250C (5 years ago) to about -120C in the past 2 years. The village head also mentioned that in 1996 the minimum winter temperature fell to -360C. Respondents

further stated that till 5-10 years ago, winter lasted from November till February and now it

starts in December. They added that there is hardly any snowfall anymore, while 10-15 years ago snowfall was a continuous feature in winter. Earlier, pots would break, oil would freeze, and trees and birds would perish during the harsh winter season.

Discussions revealed that about 5 years ago people required several blankets (3–4) to keep them warm in winters, but since the past 2–3 years one blanket suffices the need. The complete

stock of quilts and blankets in each household is no longer required. Further, the community members said that there has been a drastic reduction in the use of woolen clothing and carpets in homes. Additionally, pedestal fans were never needed in summers before, but now they are in common use. Conversely, now few bukharis (heaters) are needed to warm houses.

6 Community Perceptions on Climate Change in Shigar Valley – A Case Study

Change in quantity of fuelwood required for heating in winters

Respondents reported a reduction of atleast 50% in the use of fuelwood by households during

winters, in the past 5 years. According to one village resident, his fuelwood consumption has drastically reduced, from 200 kg to 25 kg.

Change in flowering time of fruit trees

The main fruit tree species in Shigar are apple, apricot, cherry and pear. A shift in the

flowering time, by about 7–15 days, was reported to have taken place during the past 5-10

years. Previously, flowering took place in mid-April, but since 2007 fruit trees blossom

between the last week of March and the first week of April.

Change in location / altitude of pasture sites

The study revealed that there are 22 grazing sites for the 22 villages of Shigar Town. In other words, there is one site designated to one village. Permission is needed to use another

village’s site.

The respondents were asked to quantify the number of hours it took to travel to the pastures in 2003, as opposed to in 2007-08. The response to this question was divided. 53% of the persons that were interviewed reported that there has been a change in their travel time; some reported a lengthening of travel time by about 2-3 hours, denoting that they now had to travel to higher altitudes to reach good pastures. However, it needs to be mentioned here that thedisparity in response may be due to the varied locations of the pastures that are used by the respondent. The pastures which are already at a higher altitude may not have undergone any change, while those located at lower altitudes may have dried; hence forcing the communities

to go higher up the mountains.

All respondents reported that the quality and quantity of grass in pastures had deteriorated,

due to a decrease in precipitation since 2005-06. The grass that was waist high earlier was now only knee high. Moreover, 10-15 years ago, livestock grazing took 1-2 hours, but now it takes a whole day. However, one respondent notified that fodder is easily available now, due to early greening of trees.