Friday, 9 September 2011

Climate change impacts crop production in Andhra Pradesh and other States in India

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug 25: Alarmed by crop failure and reduction in yields due
to climate change, the Central government has selected six districts
in Andhra Pradesh to study to cropping and production pattern and
introduce remedial measures.

Increase in temperature and negative rainfall trends have been causing
heavy losses to farmers in the State. The districts selected for
climate change studies are West Godavari, Krishna, Mahbubnagar,
Khammam, Srikakulam and Anantapur. Scientists from the Indian Council
of Agricultural Research have selected 1000 farmers in each of these
districts and introduced the latest scientific farm practices to fight
climate change.

At the end of khariff and rabi seasons, scientists will compare the
input cost and the total yield in normal fields with those in the
farms selected by ICAR teams. The comparison will help scientists
understand whether traditional practices are sufficient to beat the
changes triggered by climate change, or they need technological
intervention.

"We have selected both wet and dry districts for our study. We will
know the results next year. Based on the outcome we will device our
strategy to meet the challenges of climate change," said Dr B
Venkateswarlu, director of the Central Research Institute for Dryland
Agriculture.

He said small and marginal farmers had been losing crop and this
raises concern. "We will give suggestions to farmers once the results
from these districts are out," he added.

Climate data collected by the ICAR shows there has been a significant
negative rainfall trend in certain parts of the country, while in
other areas there has been significant increase in rainfall. Also
there has been sharp rise in temperature since the turn of the new
millennium.

Scientists observed that there's impact of high temperature on pollen
sterility and germination in rice. Maximum temperature above 35
degrees C and minimum temperature 23 degrees C at flowering stage
increased the pollen sterility in different varieties of rice.

Lab studies have shown that the degrees of reduction in grain yield
enhanced with rise in ambient temperature at 1, 2 and 3 degrees C. The
reduction of grain yield was to the extent of 70 per cent in certain
rice varieties. High thermal stress during post-flowering duration
manifested 18 per cent reduction in economic yield of wheat and 60 in
case of mustard.

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