ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Impact of Climate Change on the Productivity of Rice and Wheat Crops in Punjab

The seasonal trends in climate variables and their impact on rice and wheat yields in Punjab are assessed using daily data of temperature and rainfall by district from 1986 to 2015. A significant rise in mean temperature is observed in both the rice- and wheat-growing periods. Rainfall during the rice-growing period has decreased 7% annually over the past 30 years. Significant climate change will lower the rice yield by 8.10% by 2080 and wheat by 6.51%. To mitigate the effects of climate change, it is necessary to adopt climate-resilient crop choices and irrigation practices and technologies.

This paper is based on a research study Sunny Kumar conducted as a doctoral candidate for the dissertation entitled “Impact of Climate Change on Production Efficiency of Rice and Wheat Crops in Punjab Agriculture.” The study was conducted under the guidance of Baljinder Kaur Sidana. The authors are grateful to Md Tajuddin Khan for help during the analysis and to Pratap Singh Birthal for invaluable and constructive comments and suggestions.

Punjab is one of the most fertile regions in India. The early success of the green revolution in Punjab in India motivated the Government of India to grow paddy and wheat in the state and buy it at a guaran­teed price for the national food procurement and distribution system. The state serves as the food bowl of the country; it accounts for 12% of the national foodgrain production and contributes about 40%–45% of wheat and 25%–30% to the central pool. The state has about 28.94 lakh hectares (ha) under rice cultivation; almost the entire area is irrigated. The average productivity of rice in the state is about 3,838 kilogram per hectare (PAU 2017).

The climate of Punjab is semi-arid and tropical. The weather is uncomfortable during summer, or the pre-monsoon season, which lasts from April to June, and the rainy season begins in the last quarter of June and lasts until the first quarter of September (GoP 2007). But the climate has been changing; climate change is the most persistent threat to worldwide stability in this century (Adger et al 2011). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines climate change as “the changes in the state of climate that can be identified [by using statistical tests, for example] by changes in the mean and the variability of its properties, and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer.” Natural factors and anthropogenic interventions are the main causes for the change in climate, and these pose a significant threat to agrarian societies in tropical regions. According to an IPCC (2013) report, the atmosphere is already 1°C warmer, and Aggarwal (2009) finds that a 1°C increase in mean temperature would diminish the yields of wheat, soyabean, mustard, groundnut, and potato by 3%–7%. If the temperature rises by 2.5°C–4.9°C, as it is expected to by 2099, the damage to these crops will increase 10%–40%. By 2099, the annual temperature is expected to rise 2°C and annual rainfall to 7% (Sanghi et al 1998; Kumar and Parikh 2001; Sanghi and Mendelsohn 2008). For every 1°C rise in temperature, the requirement for water is estimated to increase by 10%, and affect the productivity of several crops and the efficiency of water use (Venkateswarlu and Shanker 2012).

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Updated On : 25th Nov, 2019
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