India takes steps to protect wheat from global warming

NEW DELHI: Although no major impact has been observed on wheat production due to global warming in India in the recent past, the government has taken preventive steps to safeguard the principal crop from rising temperature.

Data show there has been increasing trend since 2007-8 in wheat production, which alone contributes over 71 per cent of total foodgrain production of the country.

Wheat production increased from 78.51 million tonnes in 2007-8 to 80.71 million tonnes in 2009-10 (as per 4th advance estimates,2010), Minister of State for Agriculture K V Thomas had said in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha on Friday.

Studies have forecast adverse affect of global warming on wheat and other crops.

Research findings of ICAR (Indian Council for Agricultural Research) on wheat crop has indicated that there is about 3 to 4 per cent decrease in grain yield with 1 degree celsius rise in temperature during grain filling stage.

Out of 28 million hectare area under wheat in India, about 9 million hectare in North Eastern plain zone, Central zone and penisular zone is prone to terminal heat stress.

Studies have revealed that the mean annual surface air temperature over India has risen by 0.56 degree celsius during 1901-2009, which is above normal since 1990 over a base period of 1961-1990.

Although no adverse affect of global warming has been noticed on wheat in India so far, the government has taken some timely precautionary steps.

Heat tolerant varieties like DBW 14, DBW 16, Raj 3765, Lok 1, GW 322 etc. have been popularised on larger scale under schemes like National Food Security Mission-wheat and Integrated Cereals Development Programme in Wheat.

This is based on cropping systems aimed at increasing production and productivity of wheat, Thomas had said.

In addition to this, crop advisories are issued to wheat growing farmers for adopting latest crop production/ protection technologies.

Advisories are also issued for timely sowing, resource conservation technology including zero seed drill and irrigation at critical stages to mitigate the sudden rise in temperature.

Besides, ICAR has also initiated networking projects for developing thermal and drought tolerant genotypes that are suitable for changing climatic scenario.

Source: Economic Times

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