Punjab accounts for about 12% of all grains produced in the country.

A new study by agricultural economists and scientists from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) estimates that Punjab’s maize and cotton crops will decline by 13% and 11% by 2050 due to climate change, states account for about 12% of all grain produced in the country.

A study published earlier this month in the Indian Meteorological Department’s Mausam magazine used precipitation and temperature data collected between 1986 and 2020 to determine the impact of climate change on five major crops: rice, maize, cotton, wheat, and potato in agricultural conditions.

According to the study, researchers collected climate data from five weather stations at Punjab Agricultural University: Ludhiana, Patiala, Faridkot, Bathinda, and SBS Nagar.

The researchers for this study were agronomist Sunny Kumar, scientist Baljinder Kaur Sidana and scientist Smilie Thakur. Long-term changes in climate variables, they said, show that rising temperatures cause most of the change, not just changes in precipitation patterns.

One of the most intriguing findings is that changes in minimum temperature have resulted in changes in mean temperature throughout all growing seasons. It means that the minimum temperature has shown a rising trend,” the report said.

Rising minimum temperatures are detrimental to rice, maize, and cotton harvests. Conversely, exceeding the minimum temperature favorably affects potato and wheat yields, the report says.

The climate impacts on crops will vary widely in Kharif and rabi seasons. Among the Kharif crops, maize yield is the most responsive to temperature and rainfall than rice and cotton. By the year 2050, maize yield would reduce by 13 percent followed by cotton (about 11 percent) and rice (about 1 percent),” the report read.

Negative impacts will be cumulative by 2080. Yield losses would increase from 13% to 24% for maize, from 11% to 24% for cotton, and from 1% to 2% for rice.

The yield response of wheat and potato would be pretty much the same for the year 2050. By the year 2080, with a significant change in climate, the yield of wheat and potato will be higher by around 1 percent each,” it said.

Our results indicate that productivity decreases with an increase in average temperature in most of the crops. The adverse impact of climate change on agricultural production indicates a food security threat to the farming community,” the researchers said.

The data obtained support the claim that future climate scenarios are not very favorable. The results showed that climate-smart packages should be included on the agricultural development agenda at the political level, they said.

This study proposes a focus on building connections between farmers and financial institutions to increase their ability to adapt to climate-smart technologies and practices.