Centre creates a panel to protect wheat from heat

New Delhi: The Center has established a group to address the issue and conducted an unprecedented interministerial effort to protect the nation’s wheat crop, a winter mainstay that faces immediate hazards from forecast heatwaves due to an early summer.

A similarly terrible hot spell in March of the previous year, when temperatures soared to record highs, decimated wheat crops, causing output in the second-largest producer in the world to drop by 2.5% and igniting a crisis-like situation. The nation, which outlawed the export of the grain in May, has officially predicted the highest-ever wheat yields of 112 million tonnes this year.

Numerous farm scientists employed by the government from organisations like the venerable Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research and Krishi Vigyan Kendras (crop advisory centres) have been sent to fields in five states to inform growers of crop protection measures in case of a heatwave, according to an official.

According to an analysis by Deccan Era published earlier this week, temperatures in seven states, including Punjab, a significant wheat-growing region, are at mid-March levels. Fears of an early and severe summer have been sparked by this as well as worries about an El Nio effect later this year.

India continues to be significantly burdened by persistent domestic consumer inflation, which reached a three-month high of 6.52% in January, global food shortages, the crisis in Russia and Ukraine, and damaged supply chains as a result of the pandemic’s ripple effects.

The majority of the states that could experience a heatwave due to rising temperatures are located in the country’s main food bowl plain in the northwest, which includes Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. Rajasthan, although is frequently thought of as a desert state, is a significant producer of numerous cereals and oilseeds. According to an official, it has the greatest risk of a heat wave. Because the wheat harvest in Madhya Pradesh matures earlier than elsewhere, the state, which is another significant grower, is least at risk.

The group has started to work. State officials are working with representatives from several agencies and ministries to make sure there is enough water at reservoirs and dams to fill canals for protective irrigation. Also, they are looking for inexpensive diesel in supply lines and assuring a consistent supply of energy, which farmers require to run pumps.

According to a third official, animal husbandry department experts are advising farmers on how to prevent heat strokes in both themselves and their cattle by keeping the latter supported by wet hay shades and “desert coolers,” a type of motorised fan that disperses mist, while also increasing water intake.

Farmers are knowledgeable. They are knowledgeable. We advise them to keep in mind the important details. The crops are doing well so far, according to Narender Goyal of the Haryana-based Damla Krishi Vigyan Kendra. Nearly every one of India’s 766 districts has one of these centres.

A scientist advised farmers to monitor their crops daily, use mulching, which is the practise of coating the soil with organic matter to avoid moisture loss, use moderate watering, and pay attention to weather forecasts.

“Panic is not present. The fact that nights are significantly cooler than days is noteworthy. There hasn’t been a heatwave yet; just warmer temperatures. According to Gyanendra Singh of the Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research, cooler evenings improve in the health of plants.

In a nation where agriculture accounts for the majority of jobs, a healthy crop is essential. Large food reserves increase rural incomes, which in turn fuels the demand for consumer goods that propels economic expansion.

According to the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) classifications, a heatwave condition is declared when either the maximum temperature of an IMD weather station reaches at least 40°C or more for plains and at least 30°C or more for hilly regions, or when the mercury is higher by 4.5°C to 6.40°C for at least two days. Over the previous two weeks, temperatures have fluctuated between 28 and 30°C across Punjab, Rajasthan, and Haryana.

IMD, India’s national weather service, issued the first heatwave warning of the season on Sunday, forecasting maximum temperatures of 37 to 39 °C in several areas of the western Indian districts of Kutch and Konkan.

The El Nio effect, which is linked to hotter summers and a subpar monsoon in India, describes warmer-than-usual temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Experts agree that it is too early to predict the monsoon for this year.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button