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For every 1°C rise in temperature, yields of wheat expected to decline by 3-7%: Study

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22 February 2023, New Delhi: The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare launched a flagship network project ‘National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture’ (NICRA) in 2011.

NICRA is a unique project which brings all sectors of agriculture viz., crops, horticulture, livestock, fisheries, natural resource management, and extension scientists on one platform.

About 57 ICAR Institutes, 16 State Agriculture Universities, the Indian Institute of Technology (Chennai) & NGOs are involved in strategic research. The research infrastructure was developed like high-throughput phenotyping platforms, free air temperature elevation systems in open fields, carbon dioxide temperature gradient chambers, environmental growth chambers with CO2 and temperature controls, and a special calorimetric system to study livestock response to heat stress.

Significant achievements of the project include studies on the impact of elevated temperature and CO2 on crops (rice, wheat, maize, and onion), livestock, fisheries, soil carbon, pests, and diseases using an integrated simulation modeling framework. 1752 climate-resilient crop varieties tolerant to abiotic stresses in different crops have been developed. 400 of these varieties are tolerant to abiotic stresses like drought, flood, heat-wave, etc. Location-specific GHG inventory for different cropping systems and production systems and quantified carbon sequestration potential through agro-forestry systems and major cropping systems have been established.

District-level risk and vulnerability assessment of Indian agriculture to climate change has been revised as per IPCC AR-5 guidelines and is widely used by policymakers and research managers for prioritization of resources related to climate change action plans. Agricultural contingency plans are ready for 650 districts. Climate-induced pest and disease outbreaks in the country were studied in 9 crops (10 insects and 29 diseases) to build pest and disease forewarning models. Web-enabled and mobile apps for pest forewarning have been developed.

For every 1°C rise in temperature, yields of rice, wheat, soybean, mustard, groundnut, and potato are expected to decline by 3-7%. Resilient technologies viz., changes in land use management, development of multiple stress-tolerant varieties, advancing sowing dates, and adoption of short-duration varieties minimize the negative impacts of heat waves. In addition, strengthening the weather forecasts and agro-advisory services helps farmers in making informed decisions about impending weather.

Location-specific technologies, developed by the national agricultural research system, which can impart resilience against climatic vulnerability, are being demonstrated in 151 climatically vulnerable districts by taking one representative village in each district across the country. Village-level institutional mechanisms such as Village Level Climate Risk Management Committees (VCRMC), custom hiring centers, etc. are established for managing infrastructure created and to improve the timeliness of operations during the limited window periods of moisture availability in rainfed areas and to promote small farm mechanization for the adoption of climate resilient practices. These interventions helped farmers to reduce yield losses and enhanced their adaptive capacity against climatic variability.

A large-scale capacity-building program on climate-resilient agriculture is being undertaken with the involvement of more than 1200 scientists, 874 research scholars, and 160 doctoral and postgraduate students across the country. These resilient practices are being adopted by communities and spreading beyond NICRA villages. In the last ten years, 16958 training programs have been conducted throughout the country under the NICRA project to educate stakeholders on various aspects of climate change and resilient technologies, covering 514816 stakeholders to enable wider adoption of climate resilient technologies and increase yields.

The Government of India has introduced yield-based Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and weather-based Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (WBCIS) from Kharif 2016 to provide financial support to farmers suffering crop loss/damage arising out of natural calamities, adverse weather incidence and to stabilize the income of farmers. Comprehensive risk insurance is provided under the scheme from pre-harvesting to post-harvest losses. Under this Scheme, claims are paid to only those farmers who have insured their crops and paid their share of the premium under any of the notified crop insurance schemes in the notified area/crop by the State Government. Details of Farmers’ Applications insured, area insured, sum insured, and claims paid during 2016-17 to 2020-21 are as under:

YearFarmers Applications Insured (in lakh)Area insured(in lakh hectares)Sum insured(Rs. in crore)Claims paid(Rs. in crore)
2016-17581.70564.00201799.1016795.50
2017-18531.80507.30201966.2022065.50
2018-19581.90532.00235740.1028666.60
2019-20616.20508.40221561.2027359.70
2020-21623.20495.40199672.2020391.70
Paid during 2016-17 to 2020-21

The State Government is primarily responsible for providing necessary relief measures in the wake of natural calamities. For undertaking relief measures, funds are available with the State Government in the form of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF). Additional financial assistance, over and above SDRF, is considered from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) for natural calamities of a severe nature and is approved based on a Memorandum received from the State Government, by established procedures. The financial assistance includes agriculture input subsidy as one of the components, which is computed for the affected area having crop loss of 33% & above.

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