Climate Change Threats to Indian Agriculture

Both Climate change and agriculture are interrelated on a global scale. We are realising many changes like changes in average temperatures, increasing heat waves, changes in pests and diseases, change in rainfall, changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide and ground-level ozone, changes in the nutritional quality of some foods, changes in sea level, and much more we are witnessing from past few years.

climate changeClimate change will probably increase the risk of food insecurity for the poor. With effects distributed across the world, climate change is already affecting agriculture. It may have an adverse effect on crop production in low latitude countries in future.

People having the low income are heavily dependent on agriculture and forestry. Climate change is closely related to them as they have fewer technical and financial resources. Developing country like India is largely depending on agriculture. Their main source of the economy is agriculture where it employs nearly two-thirds of the country’s population and contribute nearly 27% of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Agriculture exports 13 to 18% of total annual exports of the country. However, Indian agriculture fundamentally dependent on the weather and seasons and 62% of the cropped area is dependent on rainfall today.

Economical effect of climate change

Climate change has a great impact on agriculture where the results are shown in farm profitability, supply, prices, demand and trade. The geographical distribution of climate changes also affects the ability to expand the food production.

Short-term changes in weather are sensitive to Agriculture for annual and long-term. Crop yield is the culmination of a diversified range of factors such as seed, soil, pest, fertilizers, diseases and agronomic practices.

Impact of climate change on soil

The soil system responds to every small changes or event happen with it. Whether it has episodic infiltration of rainfall or physical and chemical weathering due to climatic change, it has always affects the soil.

The potential changes in the soil forming factors directly resulting from global climate change would be in the temperature regimes, organic matter supply, hydrology and changes in the potential evapotranspiration. Both the organic matter and carbon to nitrogen ratio will decrease in a warmer soil temperature regime. Root growth and decomposition of organic matter will suppress drier soil conditions that will increase vulnerability to erosion. Increased soil evaporation accelerated transpiration from the plants that cause soil moisture stress.

Climate change in Agricultural Productivity

Mainly, climate change can affect agricultural productivity in two ways:

1) Direct changes in temperature, change in CO2 levels and precipitation, and,

2) Indirectly changes in soil, the frequency of infestation by insects, pests, diseases or weeds.

Water shortage conditions with thermal stress could have an adverse effect on wheat and rice productivity in India. A recent study of Indian Agricultural Research Institute indicates that there can be a possibility of a loss of 4 to 5 million tons in wheat production with every rise of 1 oC in temperature in the future. At the same time, there is a possibility of extreme climates, such as intensities and frequencies of droughts and floods and the timing of onset of monsoon.

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