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Indian farm production becoming resistant to climate change, government official says

Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Despite recurring droughts and floods, India's annual food grain production has seldom dropped below 200 million metric tons since 2005.

"Thanks to our farm scientists and policies, Indian agriculture [is] actually developing a certain degree of resistance to climate change," Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said.

He said poor monsoon rains this year curbed yields by 10 percent, but much of those losses could be recouped if farmers take advantage of rains later in the year.

The monsoon rain deficit has been reduced to 6 percent.

"Better rainfall in August and September has provided us an opportunity for good rabi [winter] season ahead. Moisture position is comparatively good, and that's why we will be able to recoup kharif losses in the rabi season," he said. Kharif crops are typically sown in July and include food staples such as rice, millet, soybeans and corn. Farmer suicides in India have declined, Pawar added. In Maharashtra, there were 800 cases of farmer suicide in 2008, down from 1,035 in 2006. One hundred sixty-eight have committed suicide this year.

In Andhra Pradesh, 196 farmers committed suicide in 2011, down from 757 in 2006 (Sanjeeb Mukherjee,
Business Standard, Oct. 9). -- RE

Reprinted from ClimateWire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. 202-628-6500


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