Agriculture yields are likely to decline to 9 per cent in the next 25 years if the climate change impact is not mitigated, Minister of State for Agriculture Tariq Anwar said today.
He also said biotechnology is expected to play a major role in improving farm yields and healthy scientific debate is required on this contentious issue.
“It is increasingly being observed that occurrences of certain natural calamities such as cyclones and drought have become more frequent and that this is related to climate change induced by global warming,” Anwar said addressing an Assocham event on calamities.
The warming trend in India from the year 1901 to 2000 is estimate to be 0.4 degree centigrade. “The impact of further warming is likely to aggravate yield fluctuations of many crops,” he said.
If climate change impact is not mitigated, Anwar said that farm yields are expected to drop by up to 9 per cent in the next 25 years from the level of 4.5 per cent in 2010.
Besides farm yields, climate change is expected to aggravate prevalence of pests and insects, decline in soil quality and higher heat stress among cattle affected milk productivity, he said.
However, the government is making all efforts to ensure that the goal of food security is not compromised by challenges posed by climate change. Several measures are being taken to achieve sustainable agriculture through mission mode, he added.
Emphasising the need to focus on biotechnology in improving farm yields, Anwar said: “There is need for a healthy scientific debate on the whole topic since it has been quite contentious not only in India but across the world with strong opinion being expressed on both sides of debate.”
Currently, government has allowed commercial cultivation of Bt cotton, while moratorium has been imposed on Bt brinjal in the wake of safety concerns.
Speaking on the occasion, Prabhudayal Meena, Special Secretary in Rural Development Ministry expressed concern that improper use of land is leading to disasters and affecting climate change.
“To ensure better utilisation of scarce land resource, the government is in the process of framing land use policy in consultation with state governments,” he said.
Michael J Ernst, South Asia Regional Advisor for Disaster Risk Reduction at the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) emphasised the role of private sector in addressing the challenges of climate change.