Climate change impacts agriculture in Karnataka

Published on February 2, 2023 by

Karnataka has been experiencing extreme weather events in the form of floods, droughts and increase in temperature. These events have caused extensive crop damages.

Bengaluru, Feb 2nd: Paridhi Jain

As per Karnataka State disaster management authority (KSDMA), crop loss of Rs 6207 crores was estimated for the year 2021 due to extreme events. Also, as per the Agro- meteorology department, GKVK (Jakkur) decline in crop yield has been observed from 5 to 50 percent.

As per Inter governmental panel on climate change, report 2022, climate change is associated with extreme weather events. As per the State Climate action plan 2021, historical annual rainfall analysis in Karnataka showed an increase in rainfall by 25 percent. A rise in summer maximum temperature in the range of 0.5 C to 2.5 C is also projected.

Avinash TGS is a farmer in Mysuru and has been growing various crops like mangoes and pulses. He says, “There has been a change in cropping season. Due to cyclones and rainfall, mango production has declined by 70 percent. Flowers are shredded early. Water stagnation also causes fungus in the crops. There is also change in cropping season in tur dal and other pulses.”

Dr. G S Srinivasa Reddy, Retired Head – Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) explains further. He says, “For 30 years, there is lot of variation in the rainfall. We have worked out taluka wise changes, especially in malad areas, there is a shift and increased rainfall of 10 to 25 percent Extreme events have increased manifold.”

Relief subsidies worth Rs 853 crores were provided by the KSDMA for crop loss. As per State action plan 2021 on Climate change, Agriculture department and KSNDMC jointly have planned to weather forecast related information and advisories to 12 lakh farmers in raitha sampark kendras.

Dr. M.N. Thimmegowda is a professor and head of the agro- meteorology department at GKVK, Jakkur. His lab has been studying the impact of weather on agriculture. He says, “Rainfall has become extremely variable with surplus and deficit, from 2001 to 2018, 14 years of drought was there and from 2019 to 2022 excess rainfall was received.”

He also suggests solutions. He says, “There are several climate mitigation strategies.  Agricultural universities have developed contingency crop planning for major crops. Flood management includes draining out excess water. After that providing nutrients like nitrogen and potassium can elevate the soil stress for some time. Then some light sprinkler irrigation is needed.”

According to experts, agroforestry can be a solution in which trees are planted in fields itself. Climate smart strategies have to be developed if we want to minimize crop losses.

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