1. Agriculture World

Kerala’s Crop Yield Drops to 33% Due to Climate Change

Rice, banana, rubber, coffee, black pepper, coconut, and areca nut yields, which are all rain-fed crops, decreased by 0.3 percent to 33 percent.

Binita Kumari
With a rise in temperature, the overall crop water requirement of important crops such as coconut, paddy, and banana increased, increasing irrigation water demand.
With a rise in temperature, the overall crop water requirement of important crops such as coconut, paddy, and banana increased, increasing irrigation water demand.

The heavy downpours that flooded an entire landscape, as well as the scorching heat that drains water. Climate change is having an impact on Kerala's food supply, with agricultural yields dropping by up to 33% over the last several decades.

This was discovered in a study conducted by the Centre for Water Resource Development and Management in Kozhikode between 2014 and 2019. It included the Kerala districts of Kozhikode and Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. Twenty farms were chosen for the project, representing all of Kozhikode's agro-ecological units.

The increase in maximum temperature was 0.43 to 1.92 degrees Celsius. The lowest temperature increased by 0.66 degrees Celsius to 2.17 degrees Celsius. Rainfall increased by 166 mm to 1,434 mm, according to reports. The main causes include "anthropogenic activities," such as deforestation, industrial pollution, soil erosion, and land degradation, as stated by scientists.

Rice, banana, rubber, coffee, black pepper, coconut, and areca nut yields, which are all rain-fed crops, decreased by 0.3 percent to 33 percent. With a rise in temperature, the overall crop water requirement of important crops such as coconut, paddy, and banana increased, increasing irrigation water demand.

Because a rise in the mean temperature above a certain threshold reduces agricultural productivity, increasing the maximum temperature by one, two, or three degrees Celsius might lower rice grain yield by 6%, 8.4%, and 25.1 percent, respectively, if all other climatic factors remain constant. Each one-degree Celsius increase in the minimum temperature during the growing season reduced rice grain output by 10%.

Climate change is also causing rapid changes in crop climate adaptability, according to the study. Unless adequate management measures are implemented, up to 81 percent and 64 percent of coffee and black pepper growing sites may not be suitable for these commodities in the future.

If the crop is irrigated, the yield of coconut, coffee, areca nut, and black pepper can be sustained, according to the study. Because rain-fed agriculture accounts for nearly 80% of the land in Kerala, it is critical to effectively manage every drop of water acquired through rain, especially during the summer, by using soil and water conservation measures. Mulching with green and dry crop residues is helpful for lowering soil temperature and retaining available soil moisture, according to the report.

The International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis in Austria, the National Institute of Hydrology in Roorkee, Uttarakhand, and the Institute of Rural Management in Anand, Gujarat collaborated on the study. It was financed by the Technology Information, Forecasting, and Assessment Council of the Department of Science and Technology of the Indian government.

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