Agricultural Risk Management and Mitigation Strategies for Climate Change
Author: Rajni Singh and Rajnath

Climate change and agriculture are interrelated process, both of which take place on a global scale. Climate change affects agriculture in number of ways, including through changes in average temperature, rainfall, and climate extremes (heat waves), changes in pest and diseases, changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide and ground level ozone concentration and changes in sea level. The Intergovernmental Panel on climate change (IPCC) has reported that agriculture is responsible for over a quarter of total greenhouse gas emissions, and contributing 4% in global GDP. This suggests that agriculture is highly greenhouse gas intensive.

A changing climate could have both positive and negative effects on crops. For example, the northern parts of united state have generally cool temperatures, so warmer weather could help certain crops grow well. In southern areas where temperature is already hot, even more heat could hurt crop growth. Global climate change will also affect agriculture and food supply in many other ways. Climate change is also likely to cause stronger storm and more floods, which can damage crops. Higher temperature and changing rainfall pattern could help same kinds of weeds and pest to spread to new areas.

Effect on crop growth

Climate is fundamental to crop growth. The rate of growth of roots, stem and leaves depends on rate of photosynthesis, which in turn depends on light, temperature, moisture and carbon dioxide; Temperature and day length also determine when plants produce leaves, stems and flowers and consequently the filling of grain or expansion of fruit. The yield of grain crops depends on grain number and grain weight at harvest, which in turn depends on biomass at anthesis and availability of moisture post-anthesis.

Temperature has major effects on photosynthesis and respiration, plant growth and phonological development. Phenology is particularly important in cooler regions and at higher altitudes. Roughly, atmospheric temperature experiences by crops decrease by about 1°C for each 2°C increase in latitude, or for each 100 m increase in altitude. Temperature has a major influence on rate of evaporation loss from soils and leaf surfaces. Radiation frosts are common in many temperate environments due to high radiation loss on cloudless, calm nights. Intra cellular freezing ensures at around -7°C, tissue death resulting from the combined effects of member injury, cytoplasm dehydration and protein denaturation. Frost hardiness of plant cell involves cell size, wall thickness, and osmotic pressure of cell sap and membrane properties, all which can either delay the onset or diminish adverse consequences of ice formation.

Risk Management

Focusing on climate risk management, it should be recognized that “adaptation” is an ongoing process that is part of good risk management, whereby drivers of risk are identified, and their likely impacts on systems under alternative management are assessed. In this respect, adaptation to climate change is similar to adaptation to climate variability. However, adaptations at this level can be strongly influenced by policy decisions to establish or strengthen conditions favourable for effective adaption activities through investment in new technologies and infrastructure which are dealt below:

How to manage......?

For cropping systems, there are many potential ways to alter management to deal with projected climatic and atmospheric changes. These adaptations include:
• Altering inputs such as varieties/species to those with more appropriate thermal time and verbalization requirements and/or with increased resistance to heat shock and drought, altering fertilizer rates to maintain grain or fruit quality consistent with the prevailing climate, altering amounts and timing of irrigation and other water management.
• Wider use of technologies to ‘‘harvest’’ water, conserve soil moisture (e.g., crop residue retention), and use and transport water more effectively where rainfall decreases.
• Managing water to prevent water logging, erosion, and nutrient leaching where rainfall increases.
• Altering the timing or location of cropping activities.
• Diversifying income through altering integration with other farming activities such as livestock raising.
• Improving the effectiveness of pest, disease, and weed management practices through wider use of integrated pest and pathogen management, development, and use of varieties and species resistant to pests and diseases and maintaining or improving quarantine capabilities and monitoring programs.
• Using climate forecasting to reduce production risk.
If widely adopted, these adaptations singly or in combination have substantial potential to offset negative climate change impacts and to take advantage of positive ones.


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About Author / Additional Info:
I am working as Additional Director and Head in Amity Institute of Microbial Biotechnology, Amity University Uttar Pradesh, Noida, India. I have 13 patents, executed 6 different projects and authored, co-authored or presented over 48 scientific papers, articles, book and chapters and received different grants from Govt. organization to present paper at different international platforms.