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Climate change affects NE agriculture
AGARTALA: Climate change has taken it’s toll on agriculture sector of northeast over the years, which prompted the scientists to go for vulnerability assessment and issuing warning to both farming community and agriculture mangers.
Scientists had observed higher agricultural vulnerability in the northern parts of the region and the same declined towards the south because of topography and environmental conditions that appeared less affected in south Assam, Mizoram and Tripura.
Addressing the South Asian Climate Change Media Briefing workshop on Centre for Science and Environment last week in New Delhi, Dr B Venkateswarlu, Director of the Central Research Institute for Dry Land Agriculture (CRIDA), Hyderabad revealed that 16 districts of all the eight northeastern states were among the recently identified 100 most climate-vulnerable districts of the country.
Khowai of Tripura, Lunglei of Mizoram and West Garo Hills of Meghalaya had been declared as climate vulnerable district for agriculture.
Cachar, Dibrugarh, Dhubri and Sonitpur of Assam, Tirap, West Kameng and East Siang of Arunachal Pradesh, Dimapur, Phek and Mokokchung of Nagaland and Imphal East and Senapati of Manipur and Ranipool of Sikkim were also identified as prone to climate change effects.
Since agricultural vulnerability was a function of crop production and input, the high vulnerability of some districts might be attributed to the lower input levels (fertilizer, irrigation), he said, adding the high relative variability and inter-annual variability of rainfall had increased occurrence of droughts and floods in the recent times, leading to uncertainty in yield and increased agricultural vulnerability in the region.
Dr Venkateswarlu, however, underlined that CRIDA had taken steps to enhance resilience of Indian agriculture to climate change and climate vulnerability through strategic research and technology demonstration besides organising capacity building programme of the farmers under the National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture.
He pointed out that the research indicated one degree celsius increase in temperature might reduce yields of major crops by 3-7 per cent but greater loss was apprehended in Rabi crops.
An estimated 3.5 million hectare of land of northeast has been under rain-fed rice cultivation, which accounts for about 30 percent of the total area under cultivation but the changing climate situation was predicted to impact rice production in 64 districts of northeast.
Another research of Centre for Climate Change and Centre for Sustainable Technologies revealed that the yield would undergo change in most districts of the region in the future by the climate-induced extreme events – floods and droughts, leading to low agricultural produce and massive soil erosion in the region.
It also projected that south Tripura would exhibit decreased vulnerability from moderate to low levels.
The northern part of the north east showed a reduction in precipitation varying from 3 percent in the northwestern portion to about 12 percent in the northeastern portion.
In the remaining part of the North East, there was an increase in precipitation varying from zero percent to as much as 25 percent in the central portion.
This study, however, revealed that the numbers of drought weeks during monsoon months showed an increasing trend in Arunachal Pradesh, parts of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura and Manipur to the tune of about 25 percent increase in future while a few districts in Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram showed improvement in drought situation during the onset of monsoon.
Many parts of the Brahmaputra basin showed a tendency to extreme soil moisture stress during monsoon months, which was likely to lead to moderate to extreme drought condition. (UNI)