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India Loses $10 Billion Every Year To Climate Change: Report

India could become an importer of oilseed, pulses and milk.

18/08/2017 11:00 AM IST | Updated 18/08/2017 11:24 AM IST
Ahmad Masood / Reuters
Children wash their hands in a partially dried-out natural pond at Badarganj village, in the western Indian state of Gujarat, August 5, 2012.

The Agriculture Ministry has informed the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture that India is losing $9 to 10 billion every year in extreme weather events and that agricultural productivity is likely to fall by 10 to 40 percent by 2100 due to climate change, The Times of India reported today.

Unless the country and its farmers adapt to the challenges posed by climate change, India could become an importer of oilseed, pulses and milk, the Agriculture Ministry has warned.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture said, "Vulnerability of Indian agriculture due to vagaries associated with climate change and low adaptation capacity of majority of Indian farmers poses risk to food security of the country."

An ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) official told the newspaper, "If the country, which is more or less self-sufficient in foodgrain production, moves on with the business as usual approach, it will have to suffer a major loss due to rising temperature and uneven distribution of rainfall. If all the losses are compounded, India will be a major victim of climate change."

While climate change could help the productivity of certain crops including soyabean, chickpea, groundnut, coconut in the western coast and potato in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, the production of most other crops will see a decline.

Earlier this year, B. Venkateshwarlu, the former director of the International Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), Hyderabad, said that climate change has a four to nine percent impact on agriculture, every year. The Down To Earth magazine reported that climate change causes about 1.5 percent loss in GDP.

"Crops like soybean and gram are likely to benefit from higher level of CO2 in atmosphere, which helps in CO2 fertilisation. But the positive effects are unlikely to last more than 10-15 years," Venkateshwarlu told DTE.

"Climate change affects all the three aspects of food security: availability, access and absorption. When production decreases, availability of food decreases. Climate change hits poor the most. They don't have income to buy the food, so their access to it is affected. This, in turn, has an impact on health and affects absorption," he said.

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