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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Climate change induced food nightmare stares India

Charu Sudan Kasturi, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 07, 2011
First Published: 12:31 IST(7/6/2011) | Last Updated: 13:15 IST(7/6/2011)

Large parts of India that already face chronic food shortages are staring at further, climate change induced food insecurity by 2050, new research by a global partnership of agricultural research institutions has found.

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Researchers at the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) have found a worrying match between regions that are most likely to face climate change induced reduction in crop yield, and areas that already suffer from chronic food shortage.

The fertile Indo-Gangetic plains are likely to face a drop in precipitation by over 5%, and this decrease is crucially likely to coincide with the growing season, the study has found, in conclusions that are alarming for India.

Large chunks of central India – Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, eastern Maharashtra, Chattisgarh and northern parts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka – and the Western Ghats are likely to experience major upward temperature shifts. These shifts are expected to affect yield of most crops adversely.

The scientists found a match between the regions likely to suffer in terms of crop yield most from climate change effects, and the regions that already suffer from high malnutrition, stunting and other indicators of chronic food shortage.

"When you put these maps together they reveal places around the world where the arrival of stressful growing conditions could be especially disastrous," said Polly Erickson, the lead author of the study and senior scientist at the CGIAR's International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi.

"These are areas highly exposed to climate shifts, where survival is strongly linked to the fate of the regional crop and livestock yields, and where chronic food problems indicate that farmers are already struggling and they lack the capacity to adapt to new weather patterns," she added.

Africa, Latin America and even parts of southern China are also likely to face the double whammy of chronic food shortages and worsening crop yields because of climate change.

Indo-Gangetic plains and fertile areas in southern river deltas among global hotspots likely to experience an over 5 % decrease in length of growing period.
This decrease will take the length of growing period below 120 days -- a decisive minimum length -- for large parts of the Indo-Gangetic plains.
Almost all of  India will suffer from a rainfall variability greater than 21 % -- a key danger indicator.
Almost all of India faces at least two climate change related threats -- from among dangerious changes in length of growin period, precipitation and temperature.


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