Climate change has become a worrisome area of concern for India to ensure food and nutritional security for the growing population. The result of climate change is global, but countries like India are more vulnerable in view of the high population depending on agriculture. In India, significant negative impacts have been implied with medium-term (2010-2039) climate change, anticipated to reduce yields by 4.5 to 9 percent, depending on the magnitude and distribution of warming.
Since agriculture makes up roughly 17 percent of India’s GDP, a 4.5 to 9% negative impact on production implies a cost of climate change to be roughly up to 1.5 percent of GDP per year. The Government of India has set a high priority on research and development to cope with climate change in the agriculture sector. The Prime Minister’s National Action Plan on climate change has taken Agriculture as one of the eight national missions.
Objectives of National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture
With this background, the ICAR has introduced a major Project entitled, National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) during 2010-11 with an outlay of Rs.350 crores for the XI Plan with the following objectives.
- To modernize the resilience of Indian agriculture covering crops, livestock, and fisheries to climatic variability and climate change through the development and application of improved production and risk management technologies
- To simplify site-specific technology packages on farmers’ fields for adapting to current climate risks
- To enrich the capacity building of scientists and other stakeholders in climate resilient agricultural research and its application.
Main Components of the project
Both short term and long terms results are expected from the project in terms of new and improved varieties of crops, livestock breeds, management practices that help in adaptation and mitigation and inputs for policy making to mainstream climate resilient agriculture in the developmental planning. The overall expected outcome is enriched resilience of agricultural production to climate variability in vulnerable regions. The project is combined with four components.
1) Strategic research on adaptation and mitigation
2) Technology demonstration on farmers’ fields to cope with current climate variability
3) Sponsored and competitive research grants to fill critical research gaps
4) Capacity building of different stakeholders
Main features of National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture scheme
- Critical assessment of different crops/zones in India for vulnerability to climatic stresses and extreme events, in particular, the intraseasonal variability of rainfall.
- Plugin of the state-of-the-art equipment like flux towers for measurement of greenhouse gases in large field areas to understand the impact of management practices and contribute data on emissions as a national responsibility.
- Instant and large-scale screening of crop germplasm including wild relatives for drought and heat tolerance through phenomics platforms for quick identification of promising lines and early development and release of heat/drought tolerant varieties.
- Comprehensive field evaluation of modern and emerging approaches of paddy cultivation like aerobic rice and SRI for their contribution to reducing the GHG emissions and water saving.
- Special attention to livestock and fishery sectors including aquaculture which has not received enough attention in climate change research in the past.
- Deep understanding of crop-pest/pathogen relationship and emergence of new biotypes due to climate change.
- Step by step up-scaling of the outputs both through KVKs and the National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture for wider adoption by the farmers.