How does climate change affect agriculture?

Published on: 24-Feb-2024

How does climate change affect agriculture?

Climate change is becoming a global issue. Climate change is not a concept specific to any country or nation. Climate change is a global phenomenon, which is becoming a matter of concern for the entire planet. 

Climate change has increased the risk of floods, droughts, agricultural crisis and food security, diseases, migration, etc. in India and the whole world. However, a large section of India (about 60% of the population) is still dependent on agriculture, and is comfortable with its impact. Therefore, it becomes extremely important to see the effects of climate change on agriculture.

According to the survey, India is among the top ten countries most affected by climate change. Changing climatic conditions are affecting agriculture the most. Because, in the long run, it depends on seasonal factors like rainfall, temperature, humidity, etc. 

So in this article we will try to know how climate change affects agriculture.

Climate change can affect agriculture in the following ways:

Decrease in world agricultural production

World agriculture is facing a serious decline this century due to global warming. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the overall impact of climate change on global agriculture will be negative. 

Although some crops will benefit greatly from this, the overall impact of climate change on crop productivity will be more negative than positive.

Also read: Requirements for tillage in agro-climatic conditions 

In India, production is expected to fall by about 4.5 per cent to 9 per cent between 2010-2039 due to climate change. According to research, if the average temperature of the atmosphere increases by 1 degree Celsius, it can reduce the production of wheat by 17 percent. 

Similarly, an increase in temperature by 2 degree Celsius is also likely to reduce paddy production by 0.75 tonne per hectare.

Reduction in favorable conditions for agriculture 

Due to climate change, the shift of temperature towards high latitude will adversely affect agriculture in low latitude regions. 

India's water resources and reserves are shrinking fast, forcing farmers to abandon traditional irrigation methods and opt for modern water-intensive crops. 

The melting of glaciers can lead to long-term reduction in the catchment area of various major rivers, leading to water stress in agriculture and irrigation. 

According to a report, pollution, land degradation and drought due to climate change have reduced the quality of three quarters of the earth's landmass.

Increase in average temperature due to climate change

Temperatures have risen in recent decades due to climate change. Since the beginning of industrialization, the temperature of the earth has increased by about 0.7 C. 

There are some plants, which need a special temperature. Increasing temperature of the atmosphere has an adverse effect on their production. These crops like barley, potato, wheat and mustard etc. require low temperature. 

Also read: How Climate Change Affects the Agricultural Sector

At the same time, the increase in temperature is very harmful for them. Similarly, crops like maize, sorghum and paddy can be damaged due to high temperature. 

Because, due to high temperature, these crops do not produce or produce less grains. Thus increase in temperature adversely affects these crops.

Change in the cycle of rainfall

 Two thirds of the agricultural area of India is dependent on rainfall and the productivity of agriculture depends on rainfall and its quantity. Changes in the amount and pattern of rainfall affect soil erosion and soil moisture. 

An increase in temperature causes a decrease in rainfall, which in turn depletes the soil of moisture. Apart from this reduction and increase in temperature has an effect on rainfall, due to which chances of dew and drought become more in the land.

The effects of global warming have been profoundly affecting for some years. Central India will experience 10 to 20 percent reduction in winter rainfall by 2050.

The Western Hemisphere is likely to receive above normal rainfall. Similarly, increase in temperature and decrease in rainfall in the central hilly regions may lead to decrease in tea crop.

Increase in carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide accounts for about 60 per cent of global warming. The increase in carbon dioxide and temperature has an adverse effect on plants and agriculture. 

During the last 30-50 years, the carbon dioxide concentration has reached about 450 ppm (points per million). However, the increase in CO2 content is beneficial for some crops such as wheat and rice. 

Because it accelerates the process of photosynthesis and reduces the losses caused by evaporation. However, despite this, there has been a significant decline in the wheat production which is some of the major food crops, which is due to the increase in carbon dioxide i. e. increase in temperature.

Increasing Pest and Disease 

Climate change leads to an increase in pests and microbes. The breeding capacity of insects and moths increases a lot in hot climates, due to which the number of insects increases a lot and it has a big impact on agriculture.

The use of pesticides to control insects and germs is also harmful for agricultural crops.

However, some more drought-tolerant crops have benefited from climate change. Sorghum produce, which is used as food grain by most of the developing world, including India. 

Since the 1970s, there has been an increase of about 0.9% in Western, South-Eastern Asia. Sub-Saharan Africa grew by 0.7 percent. 

At the same time, if some crops are left out, the impact of climate change on total crop productivity is negative.