When the rains came

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- ARATI JOSHI

Oct 12, 2017-Nepal has been experiencing very erratic rainfall these days. The monsoon usually starts in mid-June and lasts until late September. But this year, the rainy season started a bit later and lasted longer. The rains caused landslides that blocked roads in the hills. Business dropped in the cities. Farmers faced the risk of losing their crops. An extended rainfall pattern has caused lodging of matured paddy plants and increased the risk of disease and pests. Erratic rainfall has led to an imbalance in the cropping cycle and hit output. Climate change, the evergreen problem of this era, is the cause behind the erratic rainfall pattern and unpredictable, vicious 

disasters. Climate change has led to food insecurity. Uncertain climate induced disasters have affected the cropping calendar of farmers. Most farmers who depend on rain-fed agriculture were hit the hardest. Lower production because of climate change may increase food prices. This causes problems for the poorest people who are already spending most of their income on food. Instability in food supply may lead to a vicious condition of malnutrition and create a cycle of hunger and disease.  

Global warming has expanded the tropical region. Apple and citrus fruits do not grow in areas where they used to grow 20 years ago. Diseases and pest are invading the hills. Though an extended tropical area has provided more room for higher production (summer crops can be grown in hilly areas, reduction in crop duration and multiple crops can be harvested on single piece of land), climate induced disasters instantly reduce the probability of obtaining greater yield and exacerbate the impact in the long run. 

Irrigated agricultural land occupies less than one-fifth of all cropped areas but produces 40-45 percent of the world’s food. Similarly, one-sixth of the world depends on glacier-fed river basins. Such water sources depend on climatic conditions. Any alteration in climate may cause great destruction. Due to global warming, the polar ice caps are melting and water resources are drying up. When cities like Kathmandu are already facing drinking water problems, the possibility of food scarcity cannot be ruled out.  

In order to avoid undesirable circumstances, we need to increase food production by 60 percent worldwide and by nearly double in the developing countries. For achieving this objective, we need to act effectively against climate change. The adaptation measures that have to be taken are using climate smart technology like ICT for agriculture, adopting tolerant and resistant seed varieties, using conservation tillage practices, mulching and protected cultivation practices and reducing the carbon footprint.

Published: 12-10-2017 07:54

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