Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pachauri warns of crop fall due to climate change

Commodity Online (India): It is high time India wakes up to the reality of global warming and educate its farmers about the adverse impacts climate change will have on their crops. According to Nobel laureate and Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change chairman R K Pachauri, climate change can adversely impact the production of crops like wheat, rice and pulses in India.

Agricultural production in many countries, including India, would be severely hit by climate variability. Therefore, farmers really need to be concerned about its impact, Pachauri said. The country needs to educate its farmers about the impact of climate change on agriculural production and food security, he added. “Basically, yields of some crops like wheat, rice and pulses will go down. We have got an evidence on decline in the productivity of wheat in the country. It is high time farmers should know why their yields are not growing,” the Nobel laureate noted.

The livelihood of a vast population in India depends on agriculture, forestry, and fisheries and land use in these areas is strongly influenced by water-based ecosystems that depends on monsoon rains. Pachauri said farmers have to realise that they cannot take natural resources for granted. They should be aware of water scarcity, which is likely to grow in future. Farmers would probably need to pay much higher price for water in future, he said.

He elucidated on how the annual monsoon is expected to change, resulting in severe droughts and intense floods in various parts of the country. Also, farmers perhaps need to change their cropping pattern and agricultural practices to adapt to climate change. Moreover, the government should develop new strains of crops which are drought-resistant, can handle higher temperature and also which can thrive under lower water availability conditions, Pachauri said.

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