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Farmers Switch To Climate-Resilient Wheat Varieties Amidst Heatwave Predictions

Amidst past heatwave losses, over 60 percent of India's 30.86 million hectares of wheat cultivation now uses climate-resilient seeds.

Ravisha Poddar
Representational Image (Courtesy: Pixabay)

Indian farmers are proactively switching to climate-resilient wheat varieties, after witnessing the impact of strong heatwaves last year. According to Agriculture Commissioner P K Singh, these varieties now cover over 60 percent of the total wheat cultivation area, which spans 30.86 million hectares. Wheat, a primary rabi crop (winter crop) in India, is typically sown in November and harvested between March and April.

Wheat sown area for the ongoing rabi season reportedly stands at 30.86 million hectares, slightly less than the 31.44 million hectares recorded in the same period last year. Singh has attributed this minor decrease to delayed wheat sowing in regions where paddy harvesting was postponed. Despite these initial delays, wheat sowing is reportedly progressing well.

To mitigate the impact of terminal heat, which significantly affected wheat farmers last year, the government has actively promoted the cultivation of heat-resistant wheat varieties. The target was to cover 60 percent of the total cropped area with these varieties, a goal that has been surpassed as per Singh's statement.

This shift towards climate-resilient wheat is seen as a strategic move to safeguard farmers against potential heatwave incidents in the upcoming March-April 2024 season. The urgency of this adaptation was underscored by a severe heatwave in March 2022 that notably reduced wheat yields in north and central India.

To further support farmers, the Agriculture Commissioner noted that the government has enhanced its efforts in educating farmers on crop management. This includes the issuance of weekly scientific advisories, an upgrade from the previous fortnightly schedule. These advisories aim to guide farmers through various growth stages of the crop and fluctuating weather conditions, thereby boosting their preparedness for any climatic eventualities.

(with PTI Inputs)

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