Climate Change and Fruit Production
Authors: Anjali Soni and Sunita Dhakar
Division of Fruits and Horticultural Technology
ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi-12
Corresponding author email:

Climate Change

The climate of a place or a region is changed, if over a extended period (typically decade or longer) there is statically significantly change in measurements of either the mean state or variability of the climate for that place or region. The IPCC has reported 0.5 to 1.2 °C rise in temperature by 2020, 0.88 to 3.16°C by 2050 and 1.56 to 5.44 °C by 2080 for Indian region depending on future development scenario. Rising global temperatures are expected to raise the sea level, change precipitation and other local climate conditions. Features of some of our national parks and national forests may be permanently altered. It could also affect human health, crop yield, animals and many types of ecosystems.

Factors of Climate change - Climate is an important environmental variable factor affecting the production of fruit crops

Natural causes - The natural calamities, like earthquakes, tsunami, fluctuations in the sun’s intensity, volcanic eruptions, changes in ocean currents and shorter-term cycles like El Nino may change chemical composition of the atmosphere.

Human causes - Industrialization, agriculture (methane emission, carbon emission) and deforestation.

Impact of Climate Change on Fruit Crops

1. Phenology

  • Changes in climatic conditions have the strongest impact upon the annual seasonal dynamics of perennial plants, especially at the beginning of their vegetation.
  • Most temperate vegetation has responded to recent warming with advanced phenology viz. more vegetative growth at the expanse of fruits and early maturity of fruits.
2. Flowering

  • A sudden upsurge in temperature during flowering period causes excessive abscission of flowers and fruits.
  • Under Himachal Pradesh conditions optimum temperature for flowering and fruit set in apple is 24°C and during March 2004 temperature of greater than 26°C for 17 days resulted in heavy flower drop due to acute moisture stress accompanied with high temperature. (Singh et al., 2016).
3. Fruit quality

  • High temperature inhibit the key enzymes responsible for anthocyanins development in fruit peel.
  • A water snow at the time of ripening is seen as a source of diseases and damaging fruit quality.
  • High temperature and moisture stress results in sun burn and creaking in apricot, litchi and cherries.
  • In pomegranate frost causes hardened fruits with dull skin colour and rot making them unmarketable.
  • Lesser Chilling duration will affect the temperate crops.
4. Pollination

  • Higher temperature and increased precipitation during critical periods will affect the pollination adversely by affecting pollinator activity.
5. Occurrence of insect pest and disease

  • Under the changing climate scenario, existing fungal pathogen and viruses may cause more damage to the fruit crop.
6 . Soil conditions may pose problems with an increase in acidity or salinity are expected.

7 . Soil temperature will increase much earlier in spring hence the planting time also will advance. This can be catastrophic if late frosts occur.

8 . In arid region, it has become a recurrent feature that the temperature goes below 0°C and persist for 2-3 days leading to frost injury in plants.

9. Irregular rainfall pattern leading to recurrent droughts have become a more common feature in this region

Climate Change Opportunities

  • Possible increase in yields due to more carbon dioxide available for growth.
  • In Date palm, elevated CO2 levels ( 20%) significantly increased shelf life and maintained TSS of the fruit.
  • Warmer summers with good light levels will increase fruit sugar content and raise juice quantity.
  • Increased CO2 will reduce evapo-transpiration and thus increase in water- use efficiency

    Approaches to overcome the effect of climate change in fruit crops
  • Climate change is now know to be a universal phenomena and is to continue. From the past experience, appropriate strategies are needed to be develop in respect of diversification in fruit cultivation, for sustained and consistent fruit production.
  • Developing Climate-Resilient genotypes viz. development of cultivars that are tolerant to high temperatures, drought tolerance and water-use efficiency, high tolerance to saline soils and irrigation water.
  • The efforts should also be made to check out strategy for Climate-Proofing though Genomics and Biotechnology.


IPCC, Climate change. 2013. Mitigation of climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Singh, N., Sharma, D.P. and Chand, H. 2016. Impact of Climate Change on Apple Production in India: A Review. Current World Environment, 11(1).

About Author / Additional Info:
I am a Research Scholar at IARI New Delhi.