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Climate Change and Crop Production

  • 19 Jun 2019
  • 3 min read

According to a recent study, India’s grain production is vulnerable to climate change, primarily because of the decline in yield of rice crop during extreme weather conditions.

  • Researchers from Columbia University in the US studied the effects of climate on five major crops in India: finger millet, maize, pearl millet, sorghum, and rice.
    • These five grains are essential for meeting India’s nutritional needs.
    • These crops make up the vast majority of grain production during the June-to-September monsoon season with rice contributing three-quarters of the supply for the season.
  • It can be noted that recently, the United Nations' State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report 2018 said that climate change is already having a negative effect on global agriculture and is driving up the number of hungry people around the world.
  • The study, however, found that the yields from grains such as millet, sorghum, and maize are more resilient to extreme weather.
  • On the other hand, yields from rice experiences larger declines during extreme weather conditions.
    • By relying more and more on rice, India’s food supply is potentially vulnerable to the effects of varying climate.
  • Therefore, expanding the area planted with alternative grains like finger millet, maize, pearl millet, sorghum can reduce variations in Indian grain production caused by extreme climate.
  • The study shows that diversifying the crops that a country grows can be an effective way to adapt its food-production systems to the growing influence of climate change.
    • It also offers benefits like improving nutrition, saving water, reducing energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.
  • Of late, there has been growing awareness about these alternative grains, often clubbed as “Smart Food”. Few important developments are:
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