(The Gist of Kurukshetra) FARM TECHNOLOGIES TO COUNTER CLIMATE CHANGE [MARCH-2019]


(The Gist of Kurukshetra) FARM TECHNOLOGIES TO COUNTER CLIMATE CHANGE

[MARCH-2019]


FARM TECHNOLOGIES TO COUNTER CLIMATE CHANGE

Introduction

  •  India is experiencing and far unprecedented more frequently climate spells change and of covering hot in terms weather much of larger areas. Global mean temperatures have risen by 0.6°C in the last century, with the last decade being the warmest on record. Global environmental issues such as land degradation, loss of biodiversity, stratospheric ozone depletion along with human induced climate change, have exacerbated the complicated situation.
  •  Climate change is expected to adversely impact socio-economic sectors, including water resources, agriculture, forestry, fisheries and human settlements, ecological systems and human and animal health in many parts of the world.
  •  Under the scenario of 4°C warming, the west coast and southern India are projected to shift to new high-temperature climatic regimes with significant impacts on agriculture. Climate change will have an economic impact on agriculture, including changes in farm profitability, prices, supply, demand and trade.
  •  Magnitude and geographical distribution of such climate-induced changes may affect our ability to expand the food production globally by 70 per cent to feed around 9 billion mouths in 2050. Climate change could have far reaching effects on the patterns of trade among nations, development and food security.
  •  To keep global warming possibly below 1.5°C and mitigate adverse effects of climate change, agriculture like all other sectors will have to contribute to manage greenhouse gas emissions as mandated under Kyoto protocol. This article highlights the issues and strategies related to the effect of climate change on agriculture.

Greenhouse Gases Emissions

  •  The active gases including water vapour, carbon dioxide (CO2), ozone (O3), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), collectively termed as the greenhouse gases (GHGs), warm the Earth by absorbing energy and slowing the rate of energy trade. Magnitude and geographical distribution of such climate-induced changes may affect our ability to expand the food production globally by 70 per cent to feed around 9 billion mouths in 2050.
  •  Climate change could have far reaching effects on the patterns of trade among nations, development and food security. To keep global warming possibly below 1.5°C and mitigate adverse effects of climate change, agriculture like all other sectors will have to contribute to manage greenhouse gas emissions as mandated under Kyoto protocol. This article highlights the issues and strategies related to the effect of climate change on agriculture.

Mitigation and Adaptation Technologies

  •  As for climate, it is clear that rain and sun are essential for growth of plant biomass, but, of course, too much of either or both is harmful. Following mitigation and adaptation measures should be put into place to mitigate adverse effect of hanging climate.

Soil Management

  •  Soil Conservation: With the rise of the environmentalist movement in the 1960s and afterwards, it has become common to speak of conserving natural resources such as trees or fossil fuels. Yet, long before humans recognized the need to  make responsible use of things taken from the ground, they learned to conserve the ground itself—that is, the soil. This was a hard-won lesson: failure to conserve soil has turned many a fertile farmland into temporary dust bowl or even permanent desert. Techniques such as crop rotation aid in conservation efforts, but communities continue to face hazards associated with the soil. There is, for instance, the matter of leaching, the movement of dissolved substances through the soil, which, on the one hand, can benefit it but, on the other hand, can rob it of valuable nutrients, issues of soil contamination also raise concerns that affect not just farmers but the population as a whole.
  •  Soil erosion is a major problem in hilly areas and in areas with undulated topography. Erosion transports not only rock sediment but organic material as well. Together, these two ingredients are as essential to making soil, as tea bags and water are to making tea. Soil conservation measures are important to control soil erosion. Farmers should use contour ridges as a strategy to minimize soil
    erosion to encourage better root penetration and enhance moisture conservation. Local farmers should improve their adaptive capacity by using traditional pruning and fertilizing techniques to double the tree densities in semi-arid areas.
  •  These help in holding soils together and arresting desertification natural mulches moderate the soil temperatures and extremes, suppress diseases and harmful pests, and conserve the soil moisture. Carbon Sequestration: Carbon sequestration is the process involved in carbon capture and the long-term storage ofatmospheric carbon dioxide or other forms of carbon to mitigate or defer global warming. It has been proposed as a way to slow the atmospheric and marine accumulation of greenhouse gases, which are released by burning fossil fuels. Carbon sequestration describes long-term storage of carbon dioxide or other forms of carbon to either mitigate or defer global warming and avoid dangerous climate change. It has been proposed as a way to slow the atmospheric and marine accumulation of greenhouse gases, which are released by burning fossil fuels.

Crop Residue Management:

  •  A considerable area under rice and wheat is now harvested by combine. Rice and wheat straws left in the field after combine harvesting are generally burnt by the farmers to facilitate seed bed preparation and seeding. These crop residues contain large quantities of nutrients accumulated by rice and wheat crops.
  •  Burning of crop residues in the states like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan has significantly contributed to deterioration of air quality. The Government is encouraging the farmers to go in for mechanized options of residue management by way of providing subsidies on purchase of machines and equipments such as happy seeder, straw baler, rotavator, paddy straw chopper/mulcher, gyro rake, straw reaper, shredder, etc. as custom hiring centers or village level farm machinery banks.
  •  The State Governments have also been directed to provide Rs. 4,000 per ha from the funds available for demonstration of machines under Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization for demonstration of straw management machinery at farmers' fields. For crop residue management, under Sub-Mission on Agriculture Mechanization, the Department of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Government of India has allocated funds to Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Conservation Agriculture (CA):

  •  Conservation agriculture is a green solution to achieve food and nutritional security. The CA-based system substantially reduces the production cost (up to 23 per cent) but produces equal or even higher than conventional system; thereby increasing economic profitability of production system. CA-based production systems also moderates the effect of high temperature (reduced canopy temperature by 1-4°C) and increases irrigation water productivity by 66-100 per cent compared to traditional production systems.

Minimum Tillage:

  •  While intensive soil tillage reduces soil organic matter through aerobic mineralization, low tillage and the maintenance of a permanent soil cover {through crops, crop residues or cover crops and the introduction of diversified crop rotations} increase the soil organic matter.
  •  A no-or low-tilled soil conserves the structure of soil for fauna and related macrospores (earthworms, termites arid root channels) to serve as drainage channels for excess water. Surface mulch
    cover protects soil from excess temperatures and evaporation losses and  can reduce crop water requirements by about 30 per cent.

Nutrient Management

  •  Balanced and efficient use of fertilizers practiced on each and every holding based on 4R principle i.e., right nutrient, right quantity, right time and right method of application is an attractive proposition. Besides enhancing nutrient use efficiency, it helps in reducing the N2O emissions. To achieve the goal of higher nutrient use efficiency, site-specific demand driven balanced use of nutrients based on soil tests would be essential and inevitable.

  •  Use of fertilizers in conjunction with organic manures, biofertilizers, etc. on the principle of integrated nutrient supply system is a right prescription to increase nutrient use efficiency, minimize use of mineral fertilizers, and reduce GHG emissions. Use of nitrification inhibitors will regulate nitrification and leaf color chart will ensure judicious use of N-fertilizers, increase N use efficiency and reduce N2O emission and also cut on the fertilizer costs, Promotion of organic farming will arrest fertilizer use and minimize GHGs emissions.

Integrated Nutrient Management:

  •  Use of fertilizers along with organic manures, green manures, vermicompost, biofertilizers, neem, karanj, pongamia cakes etc. Neem coated urea has an edge over uncoated urea. To reduce the dependence of nitrogen fertilizers, use of Rhizobium cultures in pulses and Azotobacter in rice, wheat, coarse cereals, millet, smaller millets, cotton, sugarcane, potato etc. help cutting cost on fertilizers through benefits of symbiotic and asymbiotic nitrogen fixation.
  •  Many nutrient solubilizing bacteria, for example, K and Zn solubilizers are of great help. Use of phosphate solubilizing bacteria (PSB) is well known tool to solubilize native soil P. Seaweeds like Sagarika may play a great role to boost crop growth and also mitigate weather adversities. Biogas slurry can be used successfully to enhance NUE and minimize environmental problems.


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