1<br />AGRICULTURE AND<br />CLIMATE CHANGE<br />BY:<br /><ul><li>SHAILESH TELANG</li></ul> M.Sc- Environment Management<br /> FOREST RESEARCH INSTITUTE UNIVERSITY,Dehradun<br />
2<br />Agriculture represents a core part of the Indian economy and provides food and livelihood activities to much of the Indian population. While the magnitude of impact varies greatly by region, climate change is expected to impact on agricultural productivity and shifting crop patterns. The policy implications are wide-reaching, as changes in agriculture could affect food security, trade policy, livelihood activities and water conservation issues, impacting large portions of the population. <br />
3<br />EFFECT OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON AGRICULTURE<br /><ul><li>Climate change may have beneficial as well as detrimental consequences for agriculture.
A warming climate and decreasing soil moisture can also result in increasing need for irrigation.
Benefits to agriculture might be offset by an increased likelihood of heat waves, drought, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.
With the virtually certain likelihood of warmer and more frequent hot days and nights, there are projected to be increased insect outbreaks impacting agriculture, forestry and ecosystems. (IPCC )</li></li></ul><li>Predicted climate change impacts on agriculture<br />CLIMATE CHANGE<br />Direct effect on cropgrowth<br /><ul><li>Physiology
Impacts on Indian Agriculture Literature Review<br />· Sinha and Swaminathan (1991) – showed that an increase of 2oC in temperature could decrease the rice yield by about 0.75 ton/ha in the high yield areas; and a 0.5oC increase in winter temperature would reduce wheat yield by 0.45 ton/ha. <br />· Saseendran et al. (2000) – showed that for every one degree rise in temperature the decline in rice yield would be about 6%.<br /><ul><li>Aggarwal et al. (2002) – on basis of recent climate change scenarios estimated impacts on wheat and other cereal crops.</li></li></ul><li>INDIA AND AGRICULTURE <br /><ul><li>Population : 1.14 Billion
GDP from Agriculture : 18.6 % (2005)</li></ul> (Source: Map of India.com)<br /><ul><li>Area under Agriculture : 37.8% (124.14 mha)</li></ul>(Source: npcm team)<br /><ul><li>Population dependent on Agriculture : 66%</li></ul>(Source: EconomyWatch.com)<br /><ul><li>Average farm size: : 1 to5 ha</li></li></ul><li>INDIAN AGRICULTURE- STRENGTHS AND CHALLENGES<br /><ul><li>Strong strides made in increasing the production in the past 50 years, mainly due to adoption of HYVs and other technological developments
Subsistence agriculture with small land holdings
Frequently affected by extreme weather events such as droughts and cyclones
Significant proportion of population still reels under poverty, mal-nutrition and chronic hunger</li></li></ul><li>The Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) examined the vulnerability of agricultural production to climate change, with the objective of determining differences in climate change impacts on agriculture by region and by crop.<br />The study found that increases in temperature (by about 2ºC) reduced potential grain yields in most places.<br />Reductions in yields as a result of climate change are predicted to be more pronounced for rain fed crops (as opposed to irrigated crops)and under limited water supply situations because there are no coping mechanisms for rainfall variability.<br />Climate change is also predicted to lead to boundary changes in areas suitable for growing certain crops. These are shown for wheat in Figure.<br />9<br />
10<br />BOUNDARY CHANGES FOR PRODUCTIVITY OF IRRIGATED WHEAT<br />Source: IARI.<br />
11<br />Potential Impact of Climate Change on Wheat Production in India<br />
12<br />Effect of Climate change on Soybean<br /><ul><li>According to studies, soybean yields could go up by as much as 50 per cent if the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere doubles.
If this increase in carbon dioxide is accompanied by an increase in temperature, as expected, then soybean yields could actually decrease. If the maximum and minimum temperatures go up by 1°C and 1.5°C respectively, the gain in yield comes down to 35 per cent.</li></ul>Source: Centre for science & Environment<br />
13<br />Potential Impact of Climate Change <br />on Rice Production in India<br />Overall, temperature increases are predicted to reduce rice yields. An increase of 2-4ºC is predicted to result in a reduction in yields.<br />Although additional CO2 can benefit crops, this effect was nullified by an increase of temperature.<br />Source: IARI<br />
How does agricultureinfluence climate change?<br />The primary sources of greenhouse gases in agriculture are the production of nitrogen based fertilizers; the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, gasoline, diesel fuel and natural gas; and waste management.One of the biggest problems in industrialized agriculture is the massive overuse of fertilizers. More than 50 percent of all fertilizer applied to the soil ends up in the atmosphere or in local waterways.<br />The second biggest direct emitter in agriculture is animals. When digesting fodder, animals produce and emit large amounts of methane; a potent greenhouse gas.<br />14<br />
In 2005, agriculture accounted for 10 to 12 percent of total global human caused emissions of greenhouse gases, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007).<br />Agriculture also has a serious indirect effect on climate change. Cutting down forests and other natural cover to provide agricultural land for grazing, growing animal feed and other crops, removes key ‘carbon sinks’ – plants and soils that absorb carbon from the atmosphere – and increases global warming.<br />20% reduction in the global area of forests during the last 140 years releasing about 120 GT C to the atmosphere.<br />15<br />
Sources of direct & indirect agriculture greenhouse gases<br />Source: JESSICA BELLARBY,BENTE FOEREID, ASTLEY HASTINGS AND PETE SMITH FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF ABERDEEN<br />
Agriculture’s role inmitigating climate change<br /> There are several adaptation measures that the agricultural sector can undertake to cope with future climate change. <br /> These include:<br /> – Changing planting dates;<br /> – Planting different varieties or crop species;<br /> – Development and promotion of alternative crops;<br /> – Developing new drought and heat-resistant varieties;<br /> – Improved crop residue and weed management;<br /> – More use of water harvesting techniques,<br /> – Better pest and disease control for crops;<br /> – Implementing new or improving existing irrigation systems<br /> (Reducing water leakage, soil moisture conservation - mulching)<br />18<br />
Several farming practices and technologies can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent climate change by enhancing carbon storage in soils; preserving existing soil carbon; and reducing carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide emissions.<br />Reducing use of fertilisers: By applying only the amount of fertiliser that the crop needs, precisely and at the right time, a tremendous amount of greenhouse gas releases can be prevented. At the same time, it would also reduce other environmental disasters such as<br /> dangerous algal blooms in our lakes and oceans worldwide.<br />19<br />
Protecting the soil: If we continue to treat our soil like dirt, one of the most precious resources of humankind is under serious threat. Industrial agriculture degrades the soil and leaches it of all its nutrients, resulting in a soil that has one of the lowest carbon contents. By increasing the carbon content through a variety of measures such as cover crops, agricultural soils can be turned into carbon sinks and can greatly reduce agriculture’s contribution to climate change.<br />20<br />
Land restoration and land use changes: Modifications to grazing practices, such as implementing rotational grazing and seasonal use of rangelands. Converting marginal cropland to trees or grass maximizes carbon storage.<br />Methane should be used: Methane can be used to fuel a variety of on-farm applications, as well as to generate electricity.<br />21<br />
Changes in yield of certain crops can affect imports/exports, depending on the crop (this is particularly relevant for cash crops).<br />Because impacts vary significantly according to whether crops are rain fed or irrigated, water policy will need to consider the implications for water demand of agricultural change due to climate change.<br />Policy-makers will also need to consider adaptive measures to cope with changing agricultural patterns. Measures may include the introduction of the use of alternative crops, changes to cropping patterns, and promotion of water conservation and irrigation techniques.<br />22<br />What are the implications of<br />these predictions?<br />
Water policy: Because impacts vary significantly according to whether crops are rain fed or irrigated, water policy will need to consider the implications for water demand of agricultural change due to climate change.<br />Changes to India's annual monsoon are expected to result in severe droughts and intense flooding in parts of India. Scientists predict that by the end of the century the country will experience a 3 to 5°C temperature increase and a 20% rise in all summer monsoon rainfall.<br />source:UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI)<br />In India agricultural production is often determined by the whims of nature. The climate change is expected to result in higher temperatures and rainfall. So naturally, the impacts of climate change will be of far reaching consequence for India.<br />23<br />
24<br />CONCLUSION<br />The climate change will have impact on agriculture, and agriculture is the livelihood and most of the Indian population is dependent on it. The country should set up a National Food Security Board, to be headed by the Prime Minister, and establish at least 50 huge modern storages to build stocks of food grains to counter any emergency. He finally stressed the adoption of alternative crops to suit different weather models, a strategy that may help immensely in times of poor monsoon.<br />