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Climate change may reduce crop output by in 2020: Pawar

The Free Press Journal, Mumbai, 27th April, 2013

Climate change is likely to bring down the production of key foodgrain crops like wheat and rice in the country by up to 18% in 2020, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said today.

"Climate change is projected to reduce timely sown irrigated wheat production by about 6% in 2020. In case of late sown wheat, the projected levels are to the extent of 18%," Pawar said in the Rajya Sabha.

Further reduction by up to 25% in crop yields are projected in 2080, he noted.

Similarly, a 4% fall in crop yield of irrigated rice and 6% in rain-fed rice is seen due to climate changes by 2020.

The forecast are made by the government's agricultural research body ICAR usng crop simulation models incorporating future projections for 2020, 2050 and 2080, he added.

In case of maize and sorghum, Pawar said yields are projected to dip by about 18% and 2.5% in 2020.

To a separate query on development of quality seeds, the Minister said, "A total of 157 varieties/hybrids of rice, wheat and pulses have been notified during last three years."

These varieties of seeds are developed by National Agricultural Research System comprising of centre and state agricultural research institutes, he added.

On the likely demand of foodgrains by the end of 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17), Pawar said a working group of the Planning Commission has pegged domestic demand of wheat and rice at 89 million tonnes and 110 million tonnes in 2016-17 fiscal.

Whereas production of rice is expected to be 98-106 million tonnes, wheat is expected to be at 93-104 million tonnes in 2016-17, he said.

At present, the production of rice and wheat is sufficient to meet the domestic demand, he added.

Rice output is estimated to be 101.80 million tonnes and wheat at 92.30 million tonnes in 2012-13 crop year (July- June), as per the government forecast.