Impact of climate change on agriculture in India

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Information about Impact of climate change on agriculture in India

Published on February 18, 2014

Author: paruldhall



Study on the impact of climate change on agriculture in India.

Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture in India I am a citizen of India, a country with varied topography, climate and culture. India ranks second in the world in terms of its population. Its huge population is an asset for meeting the demand for human resources in a rapidly developing economy. However, whenever I think of the impact of climate change in my country it makes me really sad. The greenhouse gases emitted in the atmosphere are mainly responsible for global warming and climatic changes. The main sources of emission of greenhouse gases are – electricity generation, industrial, agricultural and transportation sectors. The impacts of climate change in India are -: Agriculture ‒ Up to 50% reduction in maize yields ‒ 4-35% reduction in rice yields (with some exceptions) ‒ Drop in wheat production by 4-5 million tones, with even a 1ºC rise in temperature ‒ Rise in coconut yields (with some exceptions); reduced apple production ‒ Negative impacts on livestock in all regions Fresh water supply – High variability predicted in water yields (from 50% increase to 40-50% fall) – 10-30% increased risk of floods; increased risks of droughts Forests and natural ecosystems ‒ Shifting forest borders; species mix; negative impact on livelihoods and biodiversity Human health ‒ Higher morbidity and mortality from heat stress and vector/water-borne diseases ‒ Expanded transmission window for malaria However, I feel climatic change will have the greatest effect on the agricultural yield because of extreme heat. Global warming could lead to more extreme droughts in large parts of India, resulting in widespread food shortages and hardship in the country. Reduced water availability due to changes in precipitation levels and falling groundwater tables are likely to

aggravate the situation in India, where groundwater resources are already at a critical level and about 15% of the country’s groundwater tables are overexploited. In India, more than 60% of the crop area is rain-fed, making it highly vulnerable to climate-induced changes in precipitation patterns. By 2050, if the world warms up by 2 – 2.5 degrees around 63 million people will not get food in India affecting the poor most. This will result in a major crisis for food security and the rural economy in the country. India’s climate change action plans The government of India has accorded top priority to the issue of climate change. The Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change provides the broad framework for action at the highest level. Action Plans on eight crucial sectors provide the necessary policy, regulatory and institutional framework. Many states have prepared climate change action plans. The Planning Commission hosts a high-level working group on low carbon growth that outlines the road map towards a low carbon future. The key challenge now is the implementation of these plans which entails the identification of priority actions, coordination between various agencies, and finding suitable financing mechanisms. In India, the Bank has supported a number of adaptation initiatives, such as the community led Drought Adaptation Initiative in Andhra Pradesh that helped small farmers increase their resilience to droughts. The World Bank is also empowering local communities in a number of states to improve the conservation of their watersheds and integrate adaptation in all rural livelihood projects. Projects are helping improve the availability of water, enabling farmers to move to higher value crops, and promoting the efficient use of scarce water resources. The Bank is also working on innovative crop insurance schemes and supporting resilience through disaster risk reduction and management projects. The Bank is also supporting mitigation efforts through the development of environmentally sustainable hydropower in Himachal Pradesh, and piloting projects that support the National Solar and Energy Efficiency Missions. It is increasingly looking at development through a “climate lens” by integrating climate risk assessments and carbon accounting in all its projects.

IFC, the World Bank Group’s private sector arm, is working with several Indian companies to build climate smart solutions. For example, it is introducing efficient water use technologies for basmati rice cultivation in Haryana. Till date, the project has led to water savings of 1.1 million cubic meters and has benefited over 1,000 farmers. Another IFC program – Lighting Asia – is providing renewable lighting solutions amongst two million people in rural India. By the end of 2015, the program aims to bring down CO2 emissions by at least 64,000 tons. Mitigation strategies The onus is to develop -: Heat and drought resistant crops, Improve ground water management, Invest in water storage infrastructure, build adequate flood defences Improve energy efficiency and the performance of renewable energies. Conclusion In real sense development is the best adaptation – investing in skills, health, knowledge, better infrastructure and a more diversified economy will render the country more climateresilient. This requires bold action and strong political will together with innovation, for early action on climate change.

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