Hyderabad: The consequences of climate change for the farming sector will be far-reaching, with rising temperatures affecting agriculture as well as allied industries of poultry, dairy and fisheries, said S Naresh Kumar, principal scientist at the Centre for Environment Science and Climate Resilient Agriculture of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute.
“According to current models, the average monthly temperatures in Telangana will rise by nearly four degrees Celsius in the coming decades. The minimum temperatures will rise more than maximum temperatures. Also, temperatures in the Rabi season (October to February) will rise more than in Kharif,” said Mr Kumar.
He added that temperature changes would be bigger in northern India than southern India.
Rainfall variability too would be high in the coming decades. “There will be more dry spells and drought events, along with extreme rainfall. We might see water scarcity,” he said.
Mr Kumar and other experts noted that changes due to climate change were often very slow, and need to be tracked diligently.
Fisheries would see some positive change in the beginning due to incr-ease in growth. Breeding cycles would change and increase fish output. “However, our understanding might be inadequate in this area. We believe algal blooms would be affected in a major way by rising temperatures in oceans. This will affect marine fis-heries adversely,” he said.
The dairy industry will have to deal with changing Temperature Humidity Index (THI) values. “Increased THI values could affect cattle, leading to lower milk production. Heat stress can indeed affect animals,” Mr Kumar said. The poultry industry will also see lower egg production due to the effects of heat stress on birds.
The data suggests climate change will affect the production of several crops. It may be noted that crop productivity in Telangana is lower than the national average. “In such a scenario, it is essential to develop climate resilient agriculture (CSA) techniques. We also need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions wherever possible and bat for technological interventions in policies,” Mr Kumar advised.
Some of the solutions he suggested were developing suitable crops that are stress tolerant and can also be used as fodder, to avoid the problem of disposing off the waste.
“We also suggest measures such as rainbed cultivation, which protects the farm from high rainfall. Agro-forestry and integrated farming methods are also a great solution,” he said. He also touched upon accessibility of technology to benefit farmers. “It is a challenge reaching the farmers. The public is generally wary of outsiders telling them what to do. But it is our job to gain their trust,” he said....