March 29, 2017: Reports say that we will have very high mean temperatures this summer. Heat strokes may become common, leading to unfortunate deaths. The GoI has prepared a detailed strategy for managing such a high temperature condition. I would like to suggest that in addition to the Govt. action plan, two areas require more attention. First, sea water constitutes 97% of our water resource and there must be greater emphasis on the utilisation of sea water directly through agriculture and fisheries and indirectly through solar dehydration. Second, we should pay greater attention to getting benefits from dew fall which provides moisture for dry farming crops like pulses. Special attention should be paid to the cultivation and consumption of red gram (arhar) which has also a deep root system. Therefore, the government plan should become a community plan at the level of each agro-ecological region, with location specific action points.
The human dimension should receive priority attention since it is unpardonable that we allow our poorer people to die from heat strokes. Therefore the human as well as economic, employment, health and food dimensions should receive attention from community heat management committees.
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.