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
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.