To address the impact of climate change and variability on crops, horticulture, livestock, and fisheries, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has taken up a flagship programme National Innovations on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA).
According to Union Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh, the programme is being taken up in 151 climatically-vulnerable districts across the country by taking one representative village in each district. The predominant climatic vulnerabilities addressed are drought, flood, cyclone, heat wave, cold wave, frost and hail storm.
Officials said the ICAR has conducted climate change impact analysis on crop yields through various centres in different parts of the country using crop simulation models (INFO-CROP and HAD CM3) for 2020, 2050 and 2080. The results indicate variability in temperature and rainfall pattern with significant impacts on crop yields. These studies projected reduction in yields of irrigated rice by about 4 per cent in 2020, 7 per cent in 2050 and 10 per cent in 2080.
Rainfed rice yields are likely to be reduced by 6 per cent in 2020, but in 2050 and 2080 they are projected to decrease only marginally (<2.5 per cent). Climate change is projected to reduce timely-sown irrigated wheat production by about 6 per cent in 2020. In case of late sown wheat, however, the projected reductions are to the extent of 18, 23 and 25 per cent in 2020, 2050 and 2080 respectively. Yields of irrigated kharif maize may decrease by about 18 per cent in 2020 and 2050 and about 23 per cent in 2080 due to climate change. Rainfed sorghum yields are projected to decline marginally (2.5 per cent) in 2020 scenario and by about 8 per cent in 2050.
Addressing the Inter-Session Meeting of Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Singh said its aim is to develop adaptation and mitigation practices to minimise the losses and to enhance resilience of Indian agriculture.
The Minister also said several States have shown interest in replicating the climate resilient village models. For example, the Government of Maharashtra through World Bank funding formulated a project by the name Project on Climate Resilient Agriculture ( PoCRA) with a budget outlay of Rs 4,500 crore being implemented in 5,000 villages in the drought prone villages of Vidharbha and Marathwada regions of Maharashtra. Several other State Governments also initiated similar projects of climate resilient agriculture (Karnataka, Odisha and Telangana).
According to economic survey of India 2018, the change in agricultural productivity patterns as a result of climate change could reduce annual agricultural incomes by between 15 per cent and 18 per cent on average, and between 20 per cent and 25 per cent particularly for unirrigated areas.