Why India needs a Green Revolution 2.0

Source: The post is based on the article “Why India needs a Green Revolution 2.0” published in the Indian Express on 6th March 2023.

Syllabus: GS – 3 – Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country.

Relevance: About the rabi crops and impacts of heatwaves on them.

News: More than the monsoon, it is temperatures that are emerging as a greater source of uncertainty for farmers. The recent rise in heat waves in February and March threatens India’s rabi harvests.

Why rabi crops are important for India?

a) The rabi crops are considered assured and immune from rainfall vagaries, b) India produces more food grains now during the rabi (winter-spring) than in the kharif (post-monsoon) season. (This highlights the role of irrigation in drought-proofing). 

Read more: Winter Heatwaves – Explained, pointwise

What are the vulnerabilities faced by Rabi crops?

Rabi crops were always vulnerable mainly to shorter winters and the advanced onset of summers. They are also vulnerable to spring thunderstorms and hail.

The impact of the temperature surge was seen in March 2022, when the wheat crop had just entered its final grain formation and filling stage. The heat stress led to early grain ripening and reduced yields.

Vulnerabilities this year: There is an absence of active western disturbances that bring rain and snowfall over the Himalayas. Currently, both minimum and maximum temperatures are ruling 3-5 degrees Celsius above normal in most wheat-growing areas.

What are the other challenges faced by Indian agriculture?

Climate change isn’t the only risk farmers are confronting. They also confront a) the prospects for wheat are uncertain, b) prices of onion and potato have crashed, c) Mustard is trading below its minimum support price with the arrival of the new crop, d) edible oil inflation had peaked following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The frequency, volatility and intensity of climate change and crop damages have also increased.

Read more: Heat alert – No apparent impact, but March weather crucial for wheat

What needs to fast-pace Green Revolution 2.0 to avert the challenges in Indian agriculture?

Green Revolution 2.0 has to be about varieties that can withstand extreme temperature and rainfall variations, while yielding more, using less water and nutrients.

Along with fast pacing, a) Farmers, scientists and policymakers have to adapt for the challenges, b) Implement better crop planning and market intelligence, c) Farmers must know what to plant, how to manage their crops at various stages under different stress scenarios and when to sell.

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