Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture

  • Low production: Rise in coconut yields (with some exceptions); reduced fruit and vegetable production.
  • Negative impacts on livestock: Livestock of tropical regions would become more prone to infectious and parasitic diseases. Livestock’s productivity would decline. Indigenous breeds of India like Rathi, Tharparkar, Red Sindhi, etc. would be at danger.
  • Regional impact: According to the Turn Down the Heat: Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts and the Case for Resilience Report (prepared by World Bank) looks at the likely impacts of 2°C and 4°C warming on agricultural production, water resources, coastal ecosystems and cities across South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia:
  • By the 2040s, India will see a significant reduction in crop yields because of extreme heat.
  • Reduced water availability due to changes in precipitation levels and falling groundwater tables are likely to aggravate the situation in India, where groundwater resources are already at a critical level and about 15% of the country’s groundwater tables are overexploited.
  • In India, more than 60% of the crop area is rain-fed, making it highly vulnerable to climate-induced changes in precipitation patterns.
  • It is estimated that by the 2050s, with a temperature increase of 2°C-2.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels, water for agricultural production in the river basins of the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra will reduce further and may impact food adequacy for some 63 million people.
  • An extreme wet monsoon that currently has a chance of occurring only once in 100 years is projected to occur every 10 years by the end of the century.
  • Kolkata and Mumbai are ‘potential impact hotspots’ threatened by extreme river floods, more intense tropical cyclones, rising sea levels and very high temperatures.
  • Substantial reduction in the flow of the Indus and Brahmaputra in late spring and summer.
  • Under 2°C warming by the 2040s, crop production in South Asia may reduce by at least 12%, requiring more than twice the imports to meet per capita demand than is required without climate change.
  • Decreasing food availability can also lead to significant health problems, including childhood stunting, which is projected to increase by 35% by 2050 compared to a scenario without climate change.
  • Major rivers such as the Ganges, Indus and Brahmaputra, depend significantly on snow and glacial melt water, which makes them susceptible to climate-change induced glacier melt and reductions in snowfall. The World Bank report projects a rapid increase in the frequency of low snow years in the future, well before 2°C warming takes place. This could increase the risk of flooding, threatening agriculture.
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