Climate change affecting productivity: study

Study by IIT-Delhi reveals drastic reduction in lenght of pleasant, comfortable days

March 20, 2019 01:45 am | Updated 01:47 am IST - NEW DELHI

Laborers harvest wheat by hand in the district of Jalandhar in Punjab, India, on Tuesday, April 16, 2013. Wheat harvest in India, the second-biggest grower, may reach a record for a sixth straight year after farmers increased use of high-yielding seeds and winter rains boosted crop prospects, a state-run researcher said. Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg

Laborers harvest wheat by hand in the district of Jalandhar in Punjab, India, on Tuesday, April 16, 2013. Wheat harvest in India, the second-biggest grower, may reach a record for a sixth straight year after farmers increased use of high-yielding seeds and winter rains boosted crop prospects, a state-run researcher said. Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg

India’s crop productivity and labour efficiency are at stake due to climate change, finds a study conducted by researchers at Indian Institute of Technology Delhi.

The research findings that were made public on Tuesday said that though the cropping season in India is increasing, it cannot be directly correlated to the increase in crop production as the temperature is increasing rapidly.

The study conducted by research scholar Vinnarasi Rajendran and Professor of the Department of Civil Engineering, Dhanya C.T., said that their research finds that summer season is encroaching into winter season, resulting in a drastic reduction in the length of pleasant comfortable days (thermal comfort) especially over the northeast and southern India (warm-humid) regions.

Threat to cultivation

“The drastic and joint increase in the day and night temperatures will be a major threat to crop cultivation in India. Especially, the largest wheat production states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh will be severely affected due to the increase in night time temperature, particularly in winters,” they said.

Prof. Dhanya said, “The study indicates a possible increase in the yield of major crops, by adopting an early sowing date. The findings are crucial, especially under the recent reporting of the increased rate of warming, and these factors, if unchecked, will adversely affect the economy of the country.”

Useful strategies

Ms. Vinnarasi said that their research has found that changing the work schedule of labourers, especially those exposed to heat, will boost human productivity, while adopting dynamic cropping pattern and shifting the sowing dates will reduce the damage to crop productivity.

The researchers said that their study includes a grid-wise quantification of these changes across India to aid the policymakers to adopt region-wise strategies.

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