NICRA: India’s action-plan to make agriculture climate-resilient

Having commenced working as a 25-Member Nation organisation, Non-Aligned Movement has today expanded to 120 nations, constituting almost two-thirds of the United Nations. With a major focus on important matters that remain in regard with, the alleviation of poverty and economic development of under-developed and developing nations and national independence struggles, NAM today is a movement which till the date, prioritises economic co-operation between its member states to address a number of serious issues of great importance.

Calling for concerted and shared efforts of all its member states and the nations across the world, the Non-Aligned Movement has always kept at its heart serious issues concerning the world today, climate change being one of the major issues of all.

Not for any particular nation but for the entire world, climate change has become a serious issue that needs to be dealt at par with other concerns. The matter needs a collective eye to be shared upon in order to get the wrong undone. Climate change has become a global concern inciting calls from every corner of the world to declare a climate emergency to ensure sustainability and life on planet Earth.

With increased human intervention in the mechanism of the nature, the global warming has become one of the major reasons for an increase in extreme weather events that further can affect the yields of agriculture crops in a business. There can be severe reductions in rain-fed paddy fields, irrigated rice yields and wheat yields in India in 2050 and 2080 as per the simulation studies, if the problem is not addressed with major concerns.
In its fight against this global crisis, India rolled out National Innovations on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA), a network project of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) that aims to amplify through strategic research and technology demonstration, the resilience of Indian agriculture to climate change and climate vulnerability. The project aims to enhance strategic research on adaptation and mitigation, and demonstration of technologies on farmers’ fields and making them aware of minimising the impacts of global warming on agriculture. The project’s strategic research has been planned in a network mode to cover various fields, including, crops, horticulture, natural resource management, livestock and fisheries sectors.

With major research themes, including, vulnerability assessment of major production zones, studying changes in pest dynamics along with the emergence of new pests and pathogens under changing climate and adaptation of strategies in livestock through nutritional and environmental manipulations, among others, the project primarily focuses on improved crop varieties and cereals.

As part of the project, a large number of indigenous genetic resources and improved crop varieties of pulses, including, black gram, green gram, pigeon pea, chickpea and cereals, including rice and wheat are tested for major abiotic stresses like drought and heat for the identification of superior cultivars to be adopted, on a large scale, in farmer’s fields genetic materials for cultivation at the field.

Besides this, location-specific NRM technologies are being made a part of the project to be demonstrated in 151 climatically vulnerable districts in order to achieve climate- resilient agriculture, a move that comes under Technology Demonstration Component of NICRA. Apart from this, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has identified more than 400 climate resilient germplasm lines and has characterised 58 genotypes with high water and nutrient use efficiency.

So far, significant impacts have been witnessed as the project has been well received in most of the districts of India. Technologies like supplemental irrigation, the introduction of early maturing drought- tolerant varieties, on-farm water harvesting in farms, site-specific nutrient management, among others, have been dedicatedly put into practice by farmers across the country.

For a country like India, where agriculture is considered to be the backbone of the economy and is majorly dependent on the rains, it becomes quite important to address such issues of climate change with utmost priority and with a suitable and appropriate approach of concern.With its strong and unwavering commitment for the conservation and protection of the Mother Nature, NAM has always served as a platform for nations to highlight their concerns in this regard and bring about changes for a promising and brighter future with a protected environment for the present and future generations as well. But it must be noted that because climate change is a global concern, it needs an active participation and a series of major initiatives from all the economies across the globe.

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