Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A proposal to alter crop patterns in Kerala

K. Santhosh in the Hindu: Kerala should think of changing its cropping patterns and systems to combat the effects of climate change, Kadambote Siddique, Director, Institute of Agriculture, University of Western Australia, has said.

On a visit to Kerala Agricultural University, his alma mater, Dr. Siddique told The Hindu that crop simulation models indicated that the area under rice and wheat was l
ikely to decline globally in the coming decades and food grain production was under threat from rise in temperature and rainfall uncertainties associated with global warming.

“Agriculture had been seriously affected by the heat wave of 2003 in the European Union, drought of 2004 in southern African countries, drought in Australia and other wheat growing countries in 2006, and droughts in 2002 and 2009 in India,’’ he said.

He observed that climate in Kerala was fast changing with rainfall during southwest monsoon declining and a rise in temperature being projected in relation to global warming. ‘‘It is predicted that a third of Kerala's biodiversity would vanish or would be close to extinction by 2030. A decline in wetlands is causing floods, droughts, and groundwater depletion. Sand-mining should be checked. There is also an urgent need for an action plan for afforestation and protection of natural forests,’’ he said. He called for new agronomic practices and development of new varieties and breeds. “Despite several biotic and abiotic constraints, agricultural production in Australia increased on account of improved agronomic practices, new varieties, and diversification of farming systems. India too can do it,” he said....

A banana farm in Kerala, shot by Ramesh NG, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

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