Global warming to hit India’s wheat bowl: Pawar
Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar yesterday said global warming would have an adverse impact on India’s wheat
bowl -primarily the states of Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. In reply to a special discussion on thenation’s drought and flood situation, Pawar in the Lok Sabha accused the Prime Minister’s Office of overseeing the adverseeffects of global warming to our wheat bowl. Except the paddy crop, whose area of cultivation had fallen drastically, thefigures for rest of the major crops in the country were high as compared to the corresponding period last year. He saidwheat cultivation of 252 lakh tonnes this year had crossed all-time records ever since the Independence, Pawar said.Similarly, Pawar said, the rice harvest of 319 lakh tonnes was also unprecedented. However, he conceded that a reductionof over 6 million hectares of land under paddy cultivation was a matter of concern, adding that measures would be taken to
tackle the problem. The minister said there was no need to be panicky the Indian Meteorological Department has predicted101 per cent rain in August as against 82 per cent in July. Pawar said further course of action would be decided afterAugust only. The minister said the country was well stocked up with wheat and rice to last 13 months. There was also aback up of 15 lakh tonnes seeds for alternative cropping and all states had funds earmarked for them under the NationalAgricultural Development Scheme. Rajiv Ranjan Singh Lalan of the JD(U), during the discussion, sought an economic
package for drought-hit farmers and setting up of task force on irrigation. He demanded joint action by the AgricultureMinistry and Power and Water Resources Ministries. While praising food-for-work schemes in villages, he stressed upon the
need for co-ordination between the Centre and states.
Rains in North to improve crop situation: IARI
A day after the government said in Parliament that deficient rainfall in northern India would pull down kharif riceproduction, the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) on Wednesday said those farmers who have planted basmatirice would benefit by rains during last few days. As reported earlier, following deficient rainfall in June and major portion of July in the northern India, many farmers have taken up basmati rice cultivation through dry seeding method. HS Gupta,director, IARI said basmati rice can be grown within 110 days instead of 150 days for paddy. "Rain during last few days in
northern India has helped the basmati rice crop," Gupta told FE. He further said, "With India Metrological Departmentpredicting 'more than normal' rainfall during August, the situation would improve to a great extent.” On benefits of growinghigh value basmati rice, Gupta said. "On an average a farmer can earn a net profit of Rs 60,000-Rs 70,000 per hectareagainst an average Rs 30,000 per hectare in case of paddy." Besides, basmati crop can be harvest by mid-Novemberagainst usual December of paddy, he added. Gupta further said the areas which have not received adequate rainfall, couldnow utilised for growing short duration crop like, green grams, black grams, pigeon peas and maize. He also stressed thatas rainfall pattern is changing drastically since last few years, agricultural scientists need to provide a solutions to farmers
for dealing with the situation. Gupta said this following the release of data by the government on Tuesday which stated thatthe deficit in paddy (de-husked rice) sowing this year as compared to last had widened to around 6 million hectare fromalmost 3.1 million hectare for the week ending July 17. The paddy has been planted in around 15.56 million hectare, downfrom around 21.64 million hectare sown during the same period last year, Sharad Pawar, agriculture minister said in LokSabha. In India's largest foodgrain growing state of Uttar Pradesh, which has declared drought in 47 out of the 71 districts,
kharif sowing has been completed in around 4.9 million hectare till July 27, around 3 million hectare less than last year.IARI in the recent years has developed 76 high yielding varieties of crops including wheat, rice, maize, pearl millet, foragesorghum, pigeon pea, chickpea, mustard, cotton and soyabean. Due to IARI's wheat varieties, the country's wheatproduction went up manifold duing 1967 - 2004.
Agriculture faces major risk due to Climate Change
Addressing the Members of Parliament at the Parliament Library yesterday, noted agriculture scientist and MP Rajya Sabha,Prof. MS Swaminathan said that with the increase in temperature, risk rise rapidly for agriculture. He cautioned that anincrease of 2 degree Celsius in temperature may seriously affect 4 billion population on the planet, and turn agricultureunviable. He said that the signs of global climate change if not understood and the corrective steps taken, then Antarctic ice
sheet may melt, causing serious damage to our ecology and environment. Water scarcity and frequency of droughts mayincrease. It may shorten the crops life and reduce yields due to physiological changes in plants. An increase of 2 degreetemp, may decrease rice yields by 0.75 MT per hac. and wheat by 0.45 MT per hac. He added that climate change effectsbetween 2010 - 2039 may reduce the agriculture production by 4.5 - 9.0%. Dr. Swaminathan emphasised that any cropproduction planning should not only keep the increase in population and changes in dietary habits into account, but also the
effects of climate change on our agriculture production. Later, responding to the queries of worried Parliamentarians, Dr.Swaminathan said that the crisis in agriculture is related to the dynamics of environment, economics, equity, employmentand energy. The issues of land, water, bio-diversity, climate, cost-risk returns, free and fair trade, rural employment, fuel & food and land use policies need to be understood and addressed with the collective efforts of Government, research,industry, local communities and farmers.