1. ‘Climate change to hit 46 mn-hectare farmland’

‘Climate change to hit 46 mn-hectare farmland’

The government has identified 46 million hectare of agricultural land spread across 122 districts that is likely to be adversely...

By: | New Delhi | Published: December 3, 2014 1:54 AM

The government has identified 46 million hectare of agricultural land spread across 122 districts that is likely to be adversely impacted by extreme weather events and cause decline in farm output, agriculture minster Radha Mohan Singh on Tuesday said.

“Uncertain and erratic rainfall, delay in onset of monsoon, agricultural droughts, excess rainfall events and other extreme weather events during crop growing seasons may affect agricultural productivity and profitability of the farming community including small and marginal farmers,” Singh said in Lok Sabha.

The agricultural output in the vulnerable districts  spread across states including Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh are likely to be impacted because of frequent erratic rainfall pattern.

Singh said that Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), under the agriculture ministry, has prepared vulnerability assessment on major food crops in different production zones to climate variability under the National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture.

“The ICAR study revealed that around 81.3 million hectare in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid regions of the country may suffer from extreme weather condition and out of these, 46 million hectare are agricultural land,” he said.

ICAR,in association with state agriculture universities and concerned state departments, has developed agricultural contingency plans of 580 districts, which helps farmers and administration dealing with extreme weather conditions.

Meanwhile, ICAR had conducted climate change impact analysis on crop yields using crop simulations models and it has predicted reduction in crop yield for irrigated maize and wheat of about 18% and 6% annually, respectively, while the output of irrigated and rainfed rice is expected to decline by 4% and 6%, respectively, by 2020.

“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,” the ICAR report has stated.

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.

The government had launched National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture  in the current fiscal with budgetary allocation of R1,500 crore which aims at making agriculture more productive, sustainable, remunerative and climate resilient by promoting location specific farming system.

The country produced 106.5 million tonne (mt) of rice in 2013-14, with around 44 million hectare of land under cultivation.

This year, the cyclone Hudhud had hit many districts of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh’s coast, which may impact rice production  in these states, an agriculture ministry official told FE.

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