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New UAS institute to study effect of climate change on crops

Firoz Rozindar
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The Rs. 5.25-crore project will help in identifying stronger crop varieties

Preparing for the future:Officials from the Regional Agricultural Research Station, on the outskirts of Bijapur, studying the effects of adverse climatic conditions on crops.— Photo: Rajendra Singh Hajeri
Preparing for the future:Officials from the Regional Agricultural Research Station, on the outskirts of Bijapur, studying the effects of adverse climatic conditions on crops.— Photo: Rajendra Singh Hajeri

To identify crop varieties that can withstand volatile climatic conditions, the University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, is in the process of establishing an institute for agricultural research on climate change.

The institute, which is being set up under the Centre-sponsored Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna, would study how crops react to adverse climatic conditions, and identify varieties that can withstand such conditions.

Unprecedented

“Scientists have noticed that owing to global warming, climatic conditions have become extremely unpredictable. Bijapur district alone has seen inconsistent and unprecedented conditions in that last 12 years, with extreme cold, prolonged dry spell, and flood-like situations. Such volatile conditions greatly affect crops and cropping patterns. The institute being set up would study how different crops respond to such weather conditions, which varieties are more susceptible, and which could be adopted for sowing in future,” said H. Venkatesh, agrometeorologist, Regional Agricultural Research Station, and in-charge of the proposed institute. The Rs. 5.25-crore project would have various systems such as the Open Top Chamber in which artificial climatic conditions would be created for different crops to study their response, he said.

“We are essentially focussing on carbon dioxide and heat because these are the primary elements that increase due to global warming. The study will help us not only in identifying the best species, but also in finding out remedial measures to develop strong varieties,” he said.

Besides OTC, tests were being conducted in fields too by sowing seeds of the same crop in different seasons.

Regional crops

Dr. Venkatesh said the institute was primarily focussing on crops such as green gram, chilli, groundnut, maize, Bengal gram, wheat and jowar, the dominant crops of north Karnataka.

He said the institute was a multi-disciplinary body that consisted of a crop physiologist, breeder, agro-economist, pathologists, entomologists and microbiologist.

“All these specialists would study every change in crop condition and suggest solutions. The outcome of the study would be submitted to the government for taking action,” he said.

The institute would be fully functional in a year, Dr. Venkatesh said, adding that he hoped the first study report would be submitted to the government within three years of its functioning.


  • The institute will be fully functional in a year

  • The outcome of studies will be submitted to the government for taking action


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