Climate change likely to affect JK’s agriculture

Climate change likely to affect JK’s agriculture

Suhail Punjabi

JAMMU: If expert opinion from Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has any weight, climate change has already taken place and is, according to latest Economic Survey Report (ESR), likely to affect agriculture in the state.
“Climate change is an important threat hanging like a Damocles sword over agriculture. It would also result in the emergence of new insect pests, besides affecting apple production in the state,” reads the latest ESR.
The agriculture sector, it says, is “highly vulnerable” to natural calamities such as flood, hailstorm, and cyclone.
“It is regarded as a gamble on monsoon. The devastating floods in September 2014 not only washed away the agriculture produce but also created multiple problems for the farmers in further process of cultivation,” it says.
Besides agriculture, the unfavourable climate condition is also regarded as a major weakness in the horticulture sector.
“The overall production of the fruit for the year 2014-15 was estimated at 13.45 lakh metric tons, as there has been some loss to the horticulture crop due to low temperature caused by unexpected rains…”
“6.48 lakh hectares of agricultural and horticultural land got affected (due to the deluge),”reads the report, adding that the loss was to the tune of Rs 5,611.65 crore.
Agriculture and horticulture plays an important role for development of the J&K’s economy, with more than 70 percent population directly or indirectly getting the livelihood from these sectors.
The deluge, as per the report, reduced the food grain production in the state to 17.42 lakh metric tons in 2014-15 against 20.65 lakh MT during 2013-14.
The food grain requirement of the state is 25 lakh MT, according to estimate by the Directorate of Agriculture Jammu.
While the state faces an annual shortage of 4.35 lakh MT of food grains, the floods mounted the deficiency to 7.58 lakh MT.
Minister for Horticulture, Abdul Rehman Veeri, has informed the Legislative Assembly that the government has “recommended sanctioning of ex-gratia relief of Rs 2,806 crore to the centre in favour of Agriculture growers and orchardists.”