The research published in the ‘Environmental Research Letters’ studied the impacts of climate on five noteworthy crops: finger millet, maize, pearl millet, sorghum, and rice. These crops make up vast majority of grain production during the June-to-September monsoon season – India’s main developing period – with rice contributing 75% of the grain supply for the season. Taken together, the five grains are essential for meeting India’s nutritional needs.
“By relying more and more on a single crop – rice – India’s food supply is potentially vulnerable to the effects of varying climate,” said Davis, the lead author on the paper.
“Expanding the area planted with these four alternative grains can reduce variations in Indian grain production caused by extreme climate, especially in the many places where their yields are comparable to rice. Doing so will mean that the food supply for the country’s massive and growing population is less in jeopardy during times of drought or extreme weather,” added Davis.
Temperatures and rainfall amounts in India fluctuate from year to year and impact the amount of crops that farmers can create. Also, with episodes of extreme climate, for example, droughts and storms becoming more frequent, it’s fundamental to discover approaches to protect India’s crop production from these shocks, as indicated by Davis.
The authors consolidated historical information on crop yields, temperature, and rainfall. Information on the yields of each crop originated from state agricultural ministries crosswise over India and secured 46 years (1966-2011) and 593 of India’s 707 districts.
The authors additionally utilized modelled information on temperature (from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit) and precipitation (got from a network of rain gauges kept up by the Indian Meteorological Department). Utilizing these atmosphere factors as predictors of yield, they at that point utilized a linear mixed effect modelling approach – like a multiple regression to gauge whether there was a significant relationship between year-to-year variations in climate and crop yields.
“This study shows that diversifying the crops that a country grows can be an effective way to adapt its food-production systems to the growing influence of climate change. And it adds to the evidence that increasing the production of alternative grains in India can offer benefits for improving nutrition, for saving water, and for reducing energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture,” said Davis.