Agriculture in Maharashtra at high risk to climate change: Reports

Mumbai alone can incur financial damages of as much as Rs 2 trillion due to climate change-related damages

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Geetanjali Minhas | February 3, 2016 | Mumbai



Citing climate changes that would be detrimental to the agro-sector in 14 districts affected by severe drought across Vidarbha and Marathwada (region with maximum farmer suicides), a report by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has asked Maharashtra government to initiate policies and measures to align with variations.

     
Meanwhile, a study conducted by TERI has identified Maharashtra as one of the most vulnerable states in the country. Based on biophysical, social and technological indicators the state has low “adaptive capacity” to climate change, which means its potential to respond successfully to climate variability and change, including adjustments in resources and technologies is very low.
 
Maharashtra, with widespread dependence on agriculture, falls in the zone of high to very high climate sensitivity. Considered ’double exposure’ area, the region faces simultaneous challenges of globalisation and climate change to the agriculture sector.
 
Additionally studies by Central Research Institute for Dryland Farming say,“districts in Marathwada and Vidarbha face very high risk to climate change and if no action is taken, financial implications on account of damages due to climate change would be massive. Mumbai alone can incur financial damages of as much as Rs 2 trillion due to climate change-related damages.”
 
CRIDA has mapped the vulnerability atlas of India, a collection of maps showing parts of India vulnerable to natural disasters.
 
At least 80 percent of the total area under agriculture cultivation is rain fed in the state. Out of the total 355 talukas in the state, 112 talukas received normal rainfall and 226 received deficient rain. Only 17 talukas received excess rainfall.
 
For the first time in 2014-15, unseasonal hailstorm and changing rain patterns extending to longer dry spells have come as an eye opener to policymakers in the state.
 
Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has approved the state government’s proposal related to challenges in agriculture growth due to climate change. Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis has sought funds to undertake adaption and mitigation measures to tackle climate change.
 
Water management has been accorded the highest priority and the government is pushing for the adoption of new technologies to cope with the shortage in rainfall. Apart from the “Jalyukt Shivar” water conservation project, government has emphasised on crop pattern changes and promoting horticulture. The policy also includes agriculture practices to improve soil fertility. Higher yield and lower input cost is being modelled to help farmers.
 

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