Institute for Sustainable Communities

Climate analysis predict mismatch in rainfall and temperature patterns with crop phenology: Soybean, Cotton, Wheat and Gram crops at risk finds Institute for Sustainable Communities study across 3 major regions of Maharashtra.

Mumbai, June 29, 2021

Maharashtra faces an increasing risk from climate change which is likely to impact the production of four major crops – Soybean, Cotton, Wheat and Gram, grown in the State according to a study by Institute for Sustainable Communities.

The report titled, “Climate Change Impacts on Maharashtra Agriculture” examines the week-wise 30 year averages of historical (covering the years 1989-2018) and predicted (covering the years 2021-2050) rainfall and temperature data for 8 districts across Khandesh, Marathwada and Vidarbha regions of the state.

“The analysis presented in this report, maps climate modelling and projections (both historical and futuristic), with crop phenology (optimal conditions across each of the growing stages for a crop) coupled with community based participatory assessments (on-ground farmer validation), at a much granular ‘weekly’ scale to weave a comprehensive understanding on the likely impacts of climate change on each of the crops and the farmers,” said Romit Sen, Associate Director – Water & Agriculture Program at ISC.

“Climate analysis predict mismatch in rainfall and temperature patters with crop phenology across the monsoon (kharif) and winter (rabi) season,” added Sen, who led the research at ISC.

Late onset of monsoon and intermittent dry and wet spells has impacted the germination of soybean and cotton. Excess rainfall during the mid-kharif season will lead to an increase in fungal diseases, weeds, and pests. This is likely to impact the production of pods in soybean and boll formation in cotton. Water logged soils and humid conditions will promote rot, leading to a loss of soil nutrients and fertilizers from the soil. The overall impact of excessive rainfall during the fruit formation and maturity stage for both the kharif crops studied – soybean and cotton will be on the yield and quality of the produce.

The biggest challenge for wheat cultivation, in the years to come is high temperatures at the time of grain ripening. Grain weight goes down with a rise in temperature, and temperatures during the time of grain filling are predicted to increase. Gram cultivation will see sudden increase in temperatures during pod filling, causing pods to fill less.

“There is very little or almost no rainfall predicted for the rabi season, thereby making the crops entirely dependent on irrigation. With groundwater being the major source of water for irrigation, the pressure on groundwater aquifers will increase. Reducing the impacts of changing climate on agriculture will require efforts in generating granular climate data, integrating those in informing farming decisions, improving quality of inputs, enhancing knowledge on better cultivation practices, and adoption of better management practices for resource conservation amongst others, said Vivek P Adhia, Country Director-India, Institute for Sustainable Communities.

The impact of high temperatures, rainfall and humidity will make outdoor work difficult for the farmers. Increased incidences of heat stress and humidity will have a bearing on farming operations like weeding and harvesting. As part of its work with farmers in Maharashtra, ISC is working to promote sustainable cultivation practices, building in an understanding of the likely impacts climate change and improving resilience for the farming communities.

Read the report at- https://sustain.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/ISC-Report_Impact-of-Climate-Change-on-Maharashtra-Agriculture.pdf

ISC Report

About Institute for Sustainable Communities

The Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) is a global non-profit organization with a 30-year track record of supporting industry, cities, and communities to plan and implement environmental, economic, and social improvements. Since 1991, ISC has led more than 115 transformative community-driven sustainability projects in 30 countries including the United States, China, India, and Bangladesh.

ISC helps unleash the existing power of local people and institutions to address immediate social, economic, and environmental challenges and opportunities – all while building those on-the-ground solutions into national and international best practices and policy. At the heart of the organization’s approach is results-focused, authentic, and pragmatic engagement with all stakeholders, which unearths locally-driven and equitable solutions to the biggest challenge we face – global climate change. Learn more at https://sustain.org