Managing food security under conditions of temperature rise: Prof M S Swaminathan
Author : Prof M S Swaminathan
Chennai, January 19, 2017: Media reports indicate that 2016 was the hottest year in recent times. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change had recommended that we should restrict the rise in average mean temperature to 1.5°C. It looks although the actual increase will be higher. Much will depend on the policies of the incoming government to USA. In India we should start taking anticipatory action to insulate our major crops from the adverse impact of high mean temperature. I shall just give two examples.
Wheat – wheat yield is a gamble in temperature. A mean temperature rise of 1°C will reduce the duration of the crop by about 5 to 6 days and the yield will go down by 4 quintals per hectare. We should start breeding varieties characterised by high per day productivity than just per crop productivity. Such varieties will be able to provide higher yields in a shorter duration.
Potato – The potato revolution in our country was caused by the production of healthy seeds during the aphid free season. This advantage may be diluted if the mean temperature goes up leading to the multiplication of the aphid. Therefore, we should perfect the technology for growing potato crops from true biological seeds.
Anticipatory research and development action cannot wait any further since there is very clear evidence of a gradual rise in mean temperature.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.