From mangoes to tur dal, cropping patterns have changed.
Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) 2021 data shows due to extreme events Rs 6,207 crore crop loss was estimated.
Avinash TGS, a farmer from Mysuru who has been growing various crops like mangoes and pulses said, “There has been a change in cropping season. Due to cyclones and rainfall, mango production has declined by 70 percent. Flowers are shredded early. Water stagnation also causes fungus in the crops. There is also change in cropping season in tur dal and other pulses.”
Inter governmental Panel on Climate Change, report 2022 shows, climate change is associated with extreme weather events. A historical annual rainfall analysis in Karnataka in the State Climate action plan 2021, showed an increase in rainfall by 25 percent. A rise in summer maximum temperature in the range of 0.5 Celsius to 2.5 Celsius is also projected.
Dr. M.N. Thimmegowda, professor and head of the Agro- Meteorology Department at GKVK, Jakkur said, “Rainfall has become extremely variable with surplus and deficit. From 2001 to 2018, 14 years of drought was there and from 2019 to 2022 excess rainfall was received.” His lab has been studying the impact of weather on agriculture.
Dr. G S Srinivasa Reddy, Retired Head – Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) explains further. He said, “For 30 years, there is a lot of variation in the rainfall. We have worked out taluka-wise changes, especially in Malenadu areas, there is a shift and increased rainfall of 10 to 25 percent extreme events have increased manifold.”
Relief subsidies worth Rs 853 crores were provided by the KSDMA for crop loss. The state action plan 2021 on Climate change, Agriculture department and KSNDMC jointly have planned to forecast weather-related information and advisories to 12 lakh farmers in Raitha Samparka Kendras.
Thimmegowda also offered solutions. He said, “There are several climate mitigation strategies. Agricultural universities have developed contingency crop planning for major crops. Flood management includes draining out excess water. After that providing nutrients like nitrogen and potassium can elevate the soil stress for some time. Then some light sprinkler irrigation is needed.”
Experts believe, agroforestry can be a solution in which trees are planted in fields itself. Climate smart strategies have to be developed if we want to minimize crop losses.