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Farm yield may fall in South Asia

Farm yield may fall in South Asia
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First Published: Fri, Oct 02 2009. 01 15 AM IST

Graphics: Sandeep Bhatnagar / Mint.
Graphics: Sandeep Bhatnagar / Mint.
Updated: Fri, Oct 02 2009. 09 49 AM IST
New Delhi: South Asia will be badly hit by declining crop yields stemming from climate change, a report by the International Food Policy Research Institute (Ifpri) has found ahead of a food security summit next month.
Graphics: Sandeep Bhatnagar / Mint.
Another study, released by the Food and Agricultural Organization on Thursday, also said that farm yields will be adversely affected by global warming.
The Ifpri report—made public on Wednesday—analysed 32 crops and livestock commodities in 281 regions across the globe and said that as much as $7 billion (Rs33,530 crore) will be required every year in developing nations as additional funding to finance research, rural infrastructure and irrigation investments. Asia will require the biggest chunk of investment in irrigation efficiency.
“Calorie availability in 2050 will not only be lower than in the no-climate-change scenario, it will actually decline relative to 2000 levels throughout the developing world,” the report said. “By 2050, the decline in calorie availability will increase child malnutrition by 20% relative to a world with no climate change.”
A world summit on food security is scheduled to be held in Rome between 16 and 18 November.
The study, titled Climate Change: Impact on Agriculture and Costs of Adaptation, projected better yields for developed nations, which, it said, were better prepared to deal with the effects of global warming.
India in 2007 initiated a mission on agriculture under the prime minister’s council on climate change, which is yet to make any headway.
Environment minister Jairam Ramesh announced recently that a proposed legislation on climate change will include a percentage target for organic agriculture. “This is one of the most important steps to combat climate change,” Ramesh told Mint on Monday. “Andhra Pradesh already has more than 5% of its agricultural land under organic (cultivation). We need to extend that to all other states.”
The Ifpri report used two models—built by the National Center for Atmospheric Research of the US and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia—to validate its study.
Both the models projected increased rainfall but suggested that irrigated yields for all crops in South Asia would see dramatic declines.
An important fallout of declining yields would be on food prices, which would rise significantly. Even with no climate change, prices for the most critical commodities such as rice, wheat, maize and soyabean would increase between 2000 and 2050, the report found. Climate change will worsen the situation.
The report predicted that additional price increases would be as much as 32-37% for rice, 52-55% for maize, 94-111% for wheat, and 11-14% for soyabean.
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First Published: Fri, Oct 02 2009. 01 15 AM IST