You may soon have to rethink on the contents of your daily meal -- climate change is reportedly causing the depletion of nutrition of wheat and rice, the main sources of energy for most Indians.
In a first-of-its-kind study that quantifies nutrition loss, the public sector Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) has found that protein content in wheat can fall by 10 per cent and iron content by eight per cent because of carbon emissions.
“Higher carbon content in the area dilutes the capacity of wheat to intake nitrogen, essential for protein generation,” said P.K. Aggarwal, lead author of the study.
The annual average production of wheat is 75 million tonnes, 95 per cent of which is consumed within the country.
On an average, the Indian population has protein deficiency of 20 per cent, said Dr Parameet Kaur, chief dietician, All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
“Because of climate change it can increase to 35-40 per cent, having major health implications for the country’s future generations,” Kaur said.
Agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan believes climate change may not be the only reason for the depleting nutrition. “The high use of chemicals and changing dynamics of water and soil may also be contributing to the quality loss,” he said.
As per ICAR estimate India needs Rs 7,000 crore every year to protect the agriculture sector from devastating impacts of climate change. “Not just money we should groom quality agri scientists to ensure food security,” Swaminathan said.