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Gloomy picture for Indian agriculture, says UN panel

New Delhi, April 1, 2014, DHNS: 1:32 IST
India stares at an agriculture loss worth Rs 42,000 crore ($7 billion) by 2030, due to the dangerous consequences of climate change, says the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its latest report. DH photo
India stares at an agriculture loss worth Rs 42,000 crore ($7 billion) by 2030, due to the dangerous consequences of climate change, says the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its latest report.

The loss will mostly be on account of a sharp drop in wheat productivity because of the heat stress in the Indo-Gangetic plains, which produce almost 90 million tonnes of wheat annually.

Ranging from Punjab and Haryana to West Bengal, this belt account for almost 15 per cent of global wheat production. The productivity decline could be as high as 51 per cent in the most favourable and high yielding area due to heat stress and heavy carbon dioxide load in the atmosphere.

Almost 200 million Indians, whose food intake relies on crop harvests, would experience adverse productivity. Sorghum yield too will drop whereas rice will remain unchanged. The IPCC report suggests an increase in extreme rainfall events in primarily in central India.

Heavy precipitation would be seen in other regions too as all computer models and simulations are unanimous on the increase in average and extreme rainfall events during the Indian summer monsoon.

“We live in an era of man-made climate change,” said Vicente Barros, emeritus professor at the University of Buenos Aires and co-chair of IPCC Working Group II, which released its report in Yokohama on Monday. “In many cases, we are not prepared for the climate-related risks that we already face.”

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