Climate change could hit wheat output in India, says study

Delhi, according to its current climatic condition, has a negligible risk and Patna has a high risk on wheat production.

Published: 26th January 2019 03:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th January 2019 10:25 AM   |  A+A-

Farmers sprinkle fertilizer on a wheat field on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. (File | Reuters)

Image for representational purpose only. (File photo | Reuters)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Wheat cultivation in India will be affected by substantial changes in the environment post-2030 with risk expected to increase further post-2050, although not uniformly across the country, said a study.  

‘Future climate analogues of current wheat production zones in India’ published in the scientific journal ‘Current Science’ analysed the impact of climate change on wheat production in four geographical zones and eight cities — Ludhiana, Delhi in northwestern plain, Kanpur, Patna, Ranchi in the northeastern plains, Indore, Kota in central and Akola in peninsular India.

“Most sites appeared to be at moderate risk due to temperature increase at these sites by the year 2030, and except for two sites, had significantly reduced yields. Comparisons were made specifically for the year 2030, keeping in mind changes in agricultural techniques and mechanisms that could potentially occur over a span,” said the study.

Delhi, according to its current climatic condition, has a negligible risk and Patna has a high risk on wheat production. Ludhiana and Ranchi have moderate risks in terms of climatic changes based on a number of days beyond the optimum range. 

“In the current situation, the high-risk regions would lose out on yields. Climatic change can alter the suitability of a geographic area for crops that are typically grown there, leading to possible changes in the type and extent of crops,” it said. Wheat, the second most common staple food crop in India, is one of the most critical food crops in India and any negative impact on its growth and yield in the future would have significant repercussions on the country’s food supply. 

Wheat grows in cooler temperatures, with early winter sowing. Therefore, with temperatures rising towards the end of its growth, namely the grain-filling stage during summer months, changes in temperature can potentially reduce wheat productivity in certain regions of its cultivation

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