Future effect of Climate Change on Agriculture in India, worse than thought

January 31, 2019 7:32 PM |

Agriculture Climate Change

Climate change and air pollution are not only affecting us humans but are also having an adverse effect on agricultural crop health.

As per a written response to a parliamentary committee from the Ministry of Agriculture, crops including maize, wheat, mustard, paddy, cotton, sorghum, potato along with coconut may have an adverse effect, all thanks to climate change.

The parliamentary committee was headed by Murli Manohar Joshi and was told by the Ministry that the production of wheat is likely to fall by around 6 to 23% by the year 2050 if no steps are taken to curb that.

With every increase in temperature of 1 Degree Celsius, wheat production is likely to reduce by 6000 kilograms.

The committee was also told by the Ministry that by the year 2050, Maize production is expected to fall by about 18%. However, if there were adequate steps taken, maize production could instead increase by a good 21%. Paddy production is likely to fall by 4 to 6% in 2020 but if steps are taken in favour, they may increase by 17 to 20%.

The 30th report on demonstrating national Action Plan on climate change has been prepared by the parliamentary committee. The National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) has 8 National mission which includes sustainable agriculture as well.

The data of several agricultural programmes has also been requested by the committee so that they are informed as to how many programmes were active and to what extent have they been active. As said by the committee, climate change has adversely affected the entire planet and agriculture has been a big sufferer.

The quality of fodder can also be adversely affected by climate change along with which carbon dioxide increase can cause decrease in the amount of zinc, iron, protein and several other minerals found in grains.

There has been disappointment by the committee in terms of the efforts taken by the government for battling climate change and its effects on agriculture, saying it remained insufficient.

The committee also said that there should be more emphasis on organic farming so that the ill effects of climate change can be combated for agriculture as well as farmers.

By the year 2020, potato production is likely to decrease by 2.5 %, which will further reduce by 6% in 2050 and 11% in 2080. On the other hand, soybean is likely to gain and its production may increase by 8 to 13% between 2013 to 2080.

Coconut production is also expected to increase in places including Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh Karnataka as well as Kerala. Apple has been adversely affected due to climate change along with which milk production will also suffer in the coming years.

Milk production is expected to decrease by 1.6 metric tons in 2020 and 15 metric tons in 2050. The biggest sufferers will be the states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.

Due to increase of temperatures, meat and egg production will also be affected. Along with this, soil erosion is expected to increase which will further adversely impact the quality as well as availability of water.


Climate Change and its effect on Agriculture

Along with the negative effects of Climate Change on agricultural production, there are several techniques and products which are used for agriculture that are a cause of climate change.

The use of fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides has resulted in the increase of greenhouse gas quantity in the environment along with which stubble burning has massively increased air pollution.

Between the years 1970 and 2014 the emission of greenhouse gases has increased by 80%. Moreover, along with 0.5-2 kg of nitrous oxide released per hectare, methane of 33 lakh tonnes is also being released by paddy fields.

Chemical fertilizers are responsible for emitting 75 to 80% of the total amount of nitrous oxide gas. In India, between 500 to 550 tons of crop stubble is created annually which happens to be 600 to 620 tons as per another data. Out of this, close to 16% is burnt every year which results in contribution towards pollution in a significant manner.

Carbon dioxide, Methane as well as carbon monoxide are greenhouse gases which are released due to stubble burning and contribute towards global warming.

If a ton of paddy stubble is burnt, at least 3 kilos of p m is released along with 60 kilograms of carbon monoxide, 2 kilograms of Sulphur dioxide and 1460 kilos of carbon monoxide.

Out of the stubble which is burnt, 44% is paddy, 22% of wheat stubble and sugarcane stubble is at 20%. The usage of insecticides and pesticides is also resulting in soil, water and air pollution.

While the usage of pesticides in our country is 0.6 kg per hectare which is the lowest in the world, no measures of precaution are taken due to which humans, water, animals, air and soil are adversely impacted.

The committee has shown disappointment at the efforts taken by government for tackling Climate Change.

Organic farming may help in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Nitrogen is in abundance when it comes to organic farming which renders chemical nitrogen containing fertilizers inessential. Therefore, the amount of Nitrogen oxide can be greatly reduced in the atmosphere through organic farming.

The emission of carbon dioxide can also be reduced due to organic farming and the committee has requested the government to give more importance to organic farming.

Organic farming can help reduce greenhouse emissions as it endows the soil with organic substances and also helps in increasing the soil water retention capacity.

In the response, the ministry of agriculture has mentioned that there should be subsidies given to farmers on organic materials including organic compost biological pesticides biofertilizers so that they are encouraged to pursue organic farming.

The department of fertilizers has been providing Rs 1500 per metric ton to encourage the using of city manure and it needs to increase as mentioned by the committee.

The committee has also said that organic farming and organic agricultural product need to be uniformly defined so that the process of increase in domestic output along with international trade is free of any legal complication. The government has been asked by the committee to take some action in this regard.

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