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151 districts in India threatened by climate change: ICAR

Abha Toppo
Abha Toppo

According to an annual review by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), crops, plantations and livestock in about 151 districts in India, are vulnerable to the impact of climate change. The results of climate change on the country’s agriculture that employs 50 percent of the total population and accounts for 17 percent of the economic output are no longer about distant projections.

The ICAR research shows that the impact of climate change will be progressively felt, as demonstrated by severe weather events and manifest itself in - economic, political and social results.

According to a research made in 2016 by Hoinu Kipgen Lamtinhoi, in Sahibganj district of Jharkhand, the rice-growing Maltos tribal people are fending off new bugs, attributed to varying temperature and rainfall patterns. Lamtinhoi said that the Jharkhand’s Action Plan for Climate Change also flags these changes. Moreover these changes are capable of stirring up social conflicts. Lamtinhoi’s study shows that crop- shriveling bugs have led Maltos tribes to shift into areas that are controlled by Santhal tribes downhill, leading to conflicts.

As per the ICAR, apple belts in hilly areas of Himachal Pradesh have been shifting to higher altitudes in need of adequate cold weather. While crop-damaging spring rainstorms in central India along with a sudden temperature spike in Punjab in 2010 that reduced wheat yields by 26 percent are some other instances, informed the Ludhiana-based Borlaug Institute.

The ICAR has witnessed that about 9 million hectares out of the 28 million hectares under wheat are categorized as being inclined to sudden heat stress.

One of India’s top climate scientists and former national professor at Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Pramod Aggarwal said “These are the evidence of changing of weather patterns in India”.

In all the 151 districts susceptible to climate change, 1 representative town is now being selected where ‘location-specific technologies’ will be installed.

Additionally, the ICAR’s climate assessment offers many granular findings. It affirms that mustard farmers in Gujarat’s Anand district should be suggested to minimize their sowing window to October 10 to 20 to avoid aphids’ attacks. The review also blames changes in weather patterns for the attacks, with wind speeds of more than 2 km /hour as well as mean temperature of 19 to 25.5 degrees Celsius.

The review further said that in ‘10 mango-growing locations’ of India, occurrence of fruit flies may rise due to projected increase in temperatures in future climate change periods.

The National Economic Survey 2018 examined weather patterns over the past 6 decades and noticed an enduring trend of ‘rising temperatures’ and ‘declining average precipitation’.

The review, using data sets created by the Delaware University and India Meteorological Department (IMD) has calculated that climate change might reduce annual agricultural incomes in India by 15 to 18 percent on average and up to 20 to 25 percent in unirrigated regions.

The survey has demanded ‘drastically extending irrigation’ and replacing ‘untargeted subsidies in power and fertilizer’ with cash transfers.

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