Chennai: India could lose 125 million tonnes of cereals, equivalent to 18% of its rain fed cereal production, as a result of climatic changes due to global warming, a top UN official said on 7 August.
At lower latitudes, especially in seasonally dry tropics, crop yield potential was likely to decline for even a small global temperature rise, which would increase the risk of hunger, FAO Director General Jacques Diouf said, while launching the “Knowledge on Wheels” programme at the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation here.
Greater frequency of droughts and floods would affect local production negatively, especially in subsistence sectors at low latitudes, he said, adding that rain fed agriculture in marginal areas in semi-arid and sub-humid regions is mostly at risk, he said.
“The genuinely impressive success story of Indian economic growth and its emergence as a global powerhouse is also confronted with a more pessimistic picture as a large proportion of the Indian population has yet to benefit from the dynamic changes underway in the country,” he said.
The National Family Health survey had alerted FAO to the fact that 40% of the adult population in India were underweight and 79% of children between three months and three years suffer from some type of anaemia, Diouf said.
In a country with 348 million people aged under 14, those were alarming levels of child malnutrition, in spite of the presence of large national programmes like the Integrated Child Development Services programme, he said.