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Climate Change and Agriculture

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Climate change, be it through changes in the biosphere, biodiversity or natural resources, is adversely affecting human health and wellbeing for ages. Throughout the century, the world is anticipated to encounter warming of atmosphere. In recent years, the heat waves longevity has extended with hotter days and warmer nights which has led to increased variability in summer monsoon shower resulting in drastic effects on the food crop production.

Agriculture is affected directly due to climate change, since temperature, sunlight and water are the main drivers of crop growth. As some aspects of climate change such as longer growing season, warmer temperatures and increased carbon dioxide concentrations, may bring benefits in crop growth and yield, but to realize these benefits, nutrient levels, soil moisture, water availability, and other conditions must also be met. But prior to this, there is a range of adverse impacts due to reduced water availability and more frequent extreme weather conditions. Changes in the frequency and severity of droughts and floods are posing challenges for farmers and threatening food security. Overall, the phenomenon of climate change is making it more difficult to grow crops, raise livestock and catch fishes leading to a great need for all these drastic consequences to be considered with prior concerns along with other evolving factors, such as changes in farming practices, techniques and technology.

In developing countries like India, where ecological and socio-economic systems are already facing pressure from rapid population explosion, industrialization and economic development, climate change is much more of an extra burden to deal with. The nation is confronting significant difficulties to expand its sustenance food production with a specific end goal to encourage its consistently developing populace which is probably going to achieve 1.3 billion by the year 2020.

Changed weather conditions such as erratic, less or more rains and increased average temperature have made the crops more vulnerable to pests and diseases. Moreover, Indian agriculture is majorly rainfall dependent, which is directly affected due to climate change. A hotter atmosphere can quicken the hydrologic cycle and alter the timing and extent of rainfall. Moreover, climate change has a direct impact on crop evapotranspiration. Therefore, change in climate can influence the soil moisture, groundwater recharge, and recurrence of flood or drought. In addition, a rise in sea level can build the risk of permanent or seasonal saline intrusion into the ground and river water making it unsuitable for its potential use for domestic, agricultural and industrial purposes.

Higher temperatures and changing rainfall patterns can extremely influence the crop production patterns. Agricultural productivity will also be affected due to increased carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere. All these changes will make the landless and the poor farmers more vulnerable.

Concluding all of it, it can be said that global climate change is not a new phenomenon. It is occurring for several years, the thing is just that, for now, the process has acquired a fast pace, and much attention and so as the concerns are needed.  The effect of climate change is posing a number of threats; one of which is bringing about changes in the quality and quantity of water resources and crop productivity. Thus, there is an urgent need to coordinate the efforts, strengthening the research to assess the impact of climate change on agriculture, forests, livestock, aquatic life and other living beings and improvise the efforts to make them flourish.

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