TODAY -

Impact of climate change in agriculture and its management strategies

Lakshmi Dhar Hatai *



Agricultural production is significantly responsive to fluctuation in climate. Climate change is the potential to affect crops, livestock, local agricultural economies and crop production trends. Climate change could result in greater instability in food production as well as threaten livelihood security of farmers. Climate is one of the main determinants of agricultural production and the livelihood of farmers.

Climate change is a serious global challenge as it is one of the greatest environmental, social and economic threats facing the planet. According to world meteorological organization, climate change can adversely impact global environment, agricultural productivity and the quality of human life. A climate is a complex natural phenomenon comprising variables such as air temperature and humidity, wind and precipitation.

According to United Nations Convention on climate change as “Change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods”. The climate change and its adverse impacts on agriculture, environment human health and economy have risen to the top of the agenda in various National and international forums.

Global warming, acid rain, depletion of stratospheric ozone layer, floods, droughts, tropical cyclones, heat waves, hot extremes, heavy precipitations, tsunamis are causes negatively affecting the agricultural production and farmers’ livelihood. The observed trends in global climate (IPCC, 2007) are indicative of considerable increasing green house gases (GHG), which are largely responsible for global warming.

The surface air temperature for the period of 1901-2000 indicates a significant warming of 0.40C for 100 years. It is projected that rainfall will decreased by 15-40%, the mean annual temperature increased by 30C-60C at the end of 21st century.

Small changes in temperature and rainfall could have significant effect on quality of fruits, vegetables, tea, coffee, aromatic and medicinal plants. Wheat crop is most sensitive to even small increase in temperature. A greater fertilizer used leads to higher emission of green house gases (Survey of Indian Agriculture, 2007).

Agriculture will be impacted by climate change in several ways:

o There will be reduced crop yield.
o Climate change can shorten rabi season and decrease yield
o Vulnerability to disease and pest attack increases
o High temperature affects the quality of produce
o Increases in temperature can reduce 1000 grain weight and amylase content and affect grain elongation and aroma in basmati
o Increase in temperature causes distress to dairy animals affecting milk production
o The studies indicated that India would lose about 1.8 million tons of milk production due to climate change by 2020.
Similarly, the wheat production will also reduce by 11.7 million tons by 2050 and 23.5 million tons by 2080

Emphasis should be given on environmentally curative and preservation practices in order to mitigate the climate change in agriculture. A wide variety of adaptive action and measures may be taken at farm level adjustment and economic adjustment, to lessen or overcome adverse effect of climate change in agriculture.

At the farm level adjustments are:

o Introduction of later maturity crop varieties
o Switching cropping sequences
o Sowing earlier
o Adjusting timing of field operation
o Conserving soil moisture through appropriate tillage methods
o Improving irrigation efficiency

The economic adjustment includes the shifts in regional production center and adjustment of capital, labour and land allocation. Breeding of heat and drought resistant crop varieties by utilizing genetic resources that may be better adapted to new climatic condition.

Genetic manipulation also helps to exploit the beneficial effect of CO2 enhancement on crop growth and water use. Crop varieties with a higher harvest index also mitigate the climate change (Thomas, 2011).

The other measures are:

o To develop transgenic crops which is tolerant to changes in temperature, carbon dioxide and heat.
o Planting cycle, spacing and the input management have to keep pace with the rapid change in climatic parameters
o Conservative irrigation using drip irrigation system need to be introduced in various agro climatic regions.
o Rational use and conservation of forest and land resources, prevention of desertification etc. would reduce the impact of climate change.

Management Strategies to Overcome Climate Change Impact:

1. Climate Forecasting: Farmers typically follow a specified calendar and very limited use is made of climate forecast to adapt crops to emerging climate condition. There is need to develop an integrated regional weather-climate forecast system covering precipitation, temperature and humidity.

2. Formulation of Alternative Policies for Energy subsidy and Water Saving: A direct cash subsidy for electricity or across all subsidized farming inputs, coupled with metering for electricity use can prove as an effective alternative in the economic context.

3. Water-Energy Saving Technological Choices: It depends on the physical and financial viability of technologies and practices that the farmer can pursue in each season and for each crop, with a view towards the diffusion and adoption of appropriate methods to save water and energy.

4. Developing Agriculture Supply Chain: Farmers are able to improve their resilience to climate and financial shocks, they need better access to markets and technology that a well-designed agricultural supply chain could deliver. Efforts to develop a contract farming model through corporate sector entry like Pepsico, Tata, ITC, field fresh, Reliance Fresh, Nestle etc. Agricultural supply chains could reduce the financial burden associated with farm level insurance programmes and with the procurement and deployment of technologies as well as implementation of better practices (Sidhu, etal ., 2011).

5. Use of ICT Tools: There is a need of the system to communicate weather, climate, market price forecast and guidance on scheduling irrigation, fertilizer application, pest control, contract farming and crop insurance options to the farmers to address the adverse impacts of climate change.

Producing enough food for meeting the increasing demands against the background of reducing resources in the changing climate scenario, also minimizing environmental degradation is a challenging task. This would require increased adaptation and mitigation research, capacity building, regional cooperation, changes in policies and support of global adaptation and other resources.

Change in planting dates and crop varieties could help in reducing impacts of climate change. Additional mitigation strategies are bridging yield gaps to augment production, development of adverse climate tolerant genotypes and land use systems, providing weather linked value-added advisory services to farmers, crop or weather insurance and improving land and water use management systems.


For further details contact:-
Public Relation & Media Management Cell,
CAU, Imphal.
Email: prmmcell@gmail.com


* Lakshmi Dhar Hatai wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is from College of Home Science, CAU, Tura, Meghalaya -795005
This article was webcasted on December 29 2021.



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