Climate change has hit agrarian Uttar Pradesh very hard and experts claim that crop yield in over a dozen districts across the state has been adversely affected and might result in a drop in production and financial losses to farmers.
“Global warming is accelerating severe changes in the agriculture of the state. There are dry spells in monsoon. Small rivers get flooded because of freak rains and winters are either very severe or hot winds blow in December,” pointed out Dr SP Pandey of Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant Institute of Studies in Rural Development.
Dr Pandey said that the freak weather affected the economy of the farm sector as agriculture was the largest employment provider and provided direct employment to 35.5 million people.
He is not off the mark as a joint study by Arvind Kumar, KK Singh, AN Mishra and Pratigya Tripathi maintains that climate change resulting in increase in temperature could lead to possible low yield of rice in eastern UP by 1.0 to 1.1 per cent per hectare.
Similar fall in production is expected if there is a fall in temperature. The yield of rice may go down by 1.5 to 1.9 per cent per hectare.
The researchers said that similarly, wheat production might go down by 5 per cent in neighbouring Bihar due to increase in maximum temperature.
Eastern Uttar Pradesh comprising 28 districts would be the worst affected. An estimate said that around 10 districts, with a population of around 90 million, would be affected.
“The production of rice, wheat and pulses are likely to go down. This will not only impact crop production but also the economy of villagers,” KK Singh said.
The impact of climate change is being felt in the state as there has been a greater frequency of droughts and floods. Figures available with Meteorological department suggest that the region has experienced double the number of monsoon depressions, causing heavy rainfall and flooding across Uttar Pradesh.
The state has been divided into nine agro-climatic zones. Around 90 per cent of the population of the state is engaged in agriculture and allied activities of which majority are small farmers, who are solely dependent on agriculture.
Area of agriculture has worsened over the years. The prevailing situation of drought and flood due to its physical formation and natural calamities of last 10 years are indicative of bigger crisis.
Agro-scientist Vishal Saraswat told this reporter that of late, eastern UP has witnessed flash floods which was also because several rivers originating in Nepal flow down to the state causing immense damage.