While the global climate change is expected to reduce production of rice in Punjab and Haryana, at the same time it is likely to increase potato output in the two states. The changing climate is also expected to experience negative impact on milk production in the region, predicts the parliamentary standing committee on agriculture in its report tabled in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.
The report says that the climate change would surge production of potato in Punjab, Haryana and western and central Uttar Pradesh by 3.46% to 7.11% by 2030, but in rest of India potato production may decline by 4% to 16%.
The 31-member committee, headed by Bihar MP and former Union minister of state Hukumdev Narayan Yadav of BJP, also submitted that irrigated rice in north-west India comprising Haryana and Punjab is projected to reduce by 6% to 8% by 2020. Whereas in other parts of the country the loss would be below 5%.
Northern India, including Punjab and Haryana, is expected to experience more negative impact of climate change on milk production, the committee has found. It would be higher in crossbreds (0.63%) followed by buffaloes (0.5%) and indigenous cattle (0.4%).
The committee noted that studies indicate that changing climate will decrease yields in major crops like wheat, rice and maize. On the other hand, the impact could be neutral to positive in crops like groundnut, soybean and chickpea. More number of generations of insect pests are expected to occur during future climate change periods because of increased temperatures. The committee found that more intense droughts are mainly observed over north and northwest India.
The report says that in 2050, it is estimated that maximum and minimum temperature will go up by 2.40 degrees Celsius and 40 degrees C, respectively. Southern peninsula, northwest India and the southern parts of Punjab, Haryana and Bihar will be the severely affected due to the rise of minimum temperature. Apart from this, large shift in monsoon months, reduction in number of rainy days, increase in rain intensity and high frequency of cyclone would further aggravate the problems of agrarians.
The committee was also of the considered view that policy of minimum support price (MSP) is promoting farming practices which are not suitable to local biographical and climatic conditions, thereby, causing problems such as depletion of groundwater resources, degradation of soil, and loss of local biodiversity. The report says that absence of an alternative and economically remunerative cropping strategy is forcing farmers to opt for prevailing water-intensive cropping pattern.
It has also come to fore that paddy fields and Rumen fermentation are major sources of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in farm sector. "Studies showed average methane emission of 40-70 kg/ha from rain-fed rice field and 100-180 kg/ha from irrigated rice fields. The nitrous oxide (N2O) emission having high global warming potential ranged 0.6-0.9 kg/ha under lowland irrigated conditions," reads the report.
The report reads, "However, the committee is distressed to note that despite efforts being made by the government, private sector dominates in seed production contributing to 50-57% of total seed production of the country. The main focus of private seed companies has been on the high-value and low-volume seeds."
The committee also noted that groundwater level has been decreasing in Punjab. With declining water table, farmers are deepening existing bore wells and shifting from cheaper surface mounted centrifugal pumps to expensive submersible pumps. This is increasing the cost of pumping in the agriculture sector. The report says that the quality of groundwater deteriorates with excess groundwater exploitation due to accelerated diffusion of contaminants from industrial and urban effluents to the groundwater.