Climate change hurting India’s agricultural output – Govt

Climate change will reduce India’s farm output

Even as global leaders like Donald Trump call climate change a hoax, the Indian government said it expects the phenomenon to lead to more and more extreme weather events like floods and to hurt farm output.

“Global Warming associated with the increase in concentration of green house gases in the atmosphere is one of the reasons for the increase in extreme weather events including extremely heavy rainfall during monsoon season,” Narendra Singh Tomar, minister for agriculture and farmers’ welfare said on Friday.

His comments come in the wake of rising floods and cyclones — the so-called extreme weather events — across the world this year.

India too saw a rise in floods this year, and thousands of people were killed in such events across the country. Even states that never used to see floods, such as Kerala, saw flooding during the monsoon seasons of 2018 and 2019.

Scientists have warned that the world is going to see more and more such events going forward as higher amounts of carbon in the atmosphere makes weather events more powerful.

Many coastal cities, such as Mumbai, Jakarta, New Orleans and even New York are expected to become difficult to live in and may have to be abandoned due to rising sea levels, while inland areas would be more prone to heat waves, floods, storms and other weather phenomena.

To overcome this, companies are working on coming up with a mechanism to suck out carbon from the atmosphere and turn it into its solid form. To achieve this, companies are hoping to tap into cheap sources of energy, such as nuclear and geothermal.


Meanwhile, Tomar said global warming will affect India’s agricultural production.

“Due to global warming agriculture sector is likely to be affected and climate change is expected to impact yields of agriculture crops in a business as usual scenario.”

The impact of global warming will differ according to the crop.

The biggest impact will be felt on the output of wheat, which will reduce by between 6 to 25% by the end of the current century, he said.

The impact on rice yields will depend upon whether it is rainfed agriculture — such as practiced in South India — or irrigated agriculture, as practiced in North India.

The impact on rainfed rice cultivation will only be around 2.5% by 2050, the minister said, while irrigated yields will reduce by more than 7%. The minister did not explain the reason for the difference in impact.

As for the third major energy crop — Maize — the impact will range from 18% to 23% by 2050 as far as the irrigated summer crop is concerned, he said.

Interestingly, summer groundnut yields are projected to be increased by 4-7% in 2050 scenarios, whereas in 2080 scenario the yield is likely to decline by 5%, the minister said.

“Future climates are likely to benefit chickpea [Bengal gram or chhole) by an average increase in productivity (23-54%),” he added.