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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Rising temperatures in Maharashtra to impact crop productivity: Study

After unseasonal rains and hailstorms struck various parts of the state last month, more than 20,000 hectares of crops -- mainly wheat and bajra -- were affected.

Written by Sanjana Bhalerao | Mumbai |
March 21, 2021 6:57:35 pm
Maharashtra crop productivityOf the 58.74 lakh hectares of rabi acreage in the state, 20,000 hectares sustained damage. Wheat and bajra crop, especially, sustained extensive damage. Similarly, market-ready onion plots were damaged. (Representational)

Mumbai, Pune, Satara and Solapur districts will register significant warming — by 1 to 2.5 degrees Celsius — post-2033, a climate change study has found. Rising temperatures and extreme rainfall events in Maharashtra are also likely to have a serious impact on the food plate. The observation was made in a study titled ‘Future Climate Change Scenario over Maharashtra, Western India: Implications of the Regional Climate Model for the Understanding of Agricultural Vulnerability’, published in the peer-reviewed journal Springer Nature.

The study by Rahul Todmal, Assistant Professor of Geography at Vidya Pratishthan’s ASC College in Baramati, assesses the vulnerability of agriculture in the state due to the changing climate.

Based on the estimate climatic data from IITM- Pune and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the period between 2015 and 2100, the study states that Maharashtra is very likely to experience considerably warmer conditions after 2033, whereas parts of Konkan and Madhya Maharashtra will register significant warming (by 1 to 2.5 degree Celsius). The study indicated that the annual mean minimum temperatures are expected to rise significantly across 80 per cent of Maharashtra districts over the next five decades.

The study also highlights the impacts on production of crops such as jowar (18 per cent reduction) sugarcane (up to 22 per cent), rice (0-49 per cent) due to increase in the annual temperature by 2050.

After unseasonal rains and hailstorms struck various parts of the state last month, more than 20,000 hectares of crops — mainly wheat and bajra — were affected. Hail and thunderstorms lashed various parts of Maharashtra, including districts of Buldhana, Jalna, Nanded, Nashik, Dhule, Jalgaon and Sangli. Of the 58.74 lakh hectares of rabi acreage in the state, 20,000 hectares sustained damage. Wheat and bajra crop, especially, sustained extensive damage. Similarly, market-ready onion plots were damaged.

Todmal, who hails from a farming family in Ahmednagar, experienced the impact of climate change that ravaged his farmland. He said, “Agronomic studies have confirmed that the warmer climatic conditions never favour agricultural productivity. The future temperature rise is very likely to reduce the productivity of traditional rain-fed (jowar, bajra, pulses) crops and irrigated cash crops (sugarcane, onion, maize etc.) as well. The rise in annual minimum temperature, particularly during the winter season, may adversely affect the productivity of wheat.”

He added that the future winter and summer seasons are very likely to become warmer and hotter, respectively.

While Bhandara, Gondia, Akola, Washim, Parbhani, Hingoli and Yavatmal districts may register a significant rise in monsoon rainfall by 53–123 mm, pockets in Ahmednagar, Aurangabad and Jalgaon districts are expected to undergo a notable increase in rainfall without any spatial pattern, he observed.

The study recommends that the Maharashtra government needs to consider these environmental changes while formulating policies regarding agricultural and water resources.

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