Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Nalgonda district turning into arid from semi-arid region

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug 16: Here's one more bad news for Nalgonda. After
fluoride and uranium contamination of ground water, Nalgonda district
is fast turning into a dry land. Scientists at the city-based International
Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics have found that
Nalgonda district has turned arid from a semi-arid region.

After digging into climate data of four decades and studying the failure
of crops, Icrisat scientists have noticed that the number of "growing
cycle" particularly for the rabi season has come down by 15 days. This
means no crop of duration more than 100 days will be able to survive
during the rabi in the district. If a crop is of 115 days duration either the
yield will fall or the crop fails.

Alarmed at the change in climate pattern in Nalgonda, the Indian
Council of Agricultural Research has decided to take up a full-fledged
study in 100 select districts all over the country. Scientists of ICRISAT
and ICAR attribute the problem in Nalgonda district to climate change.

"The problem is very serious," Icrisat director-general Dr William D
Dar said while describing the climate change pattern in Nalgonda
district. "The impact is more during the rabi season," he added.

Icrisat principal scientist Dr Suhas P Wani said climate and agricultural
data from 1972 onwards revealed that there's a gradual progression
from semi-arid climate to arid climate in Nalgonda. "Without realising
the change in the climate pattern, farmers continue with old agricultural
practices. The crop failed in three of the last five years causing heavy
loss to farmers," Dr Suhas said adding that there's a drastic impact on
farming. Such a phenomenon has not been observed in neighbouring

Another district, he said that could be compared with Nalgonda is
Parbani in Maharashtra. "Unless remedial measures are not taken
farmers may not be able to grow sorghum in the district," he warned.

ICAR deputy director-general Dr AK Singh said data on 100
vulnerable districts in the country would be ready by early 2012.

Icrisat on Tuesday held a roundtable meeting on climate change and
rain-fed farming systems. Scientists and private players attending the
roundtable noted that in the last 60 years Asia has been witnessing
"unusual events". Analysis of historical weather data in the continent
shows there have been high intensity rains with the number of rainy
days coming down and temperatures going up.

The experts, however said they had been geared up with appropriate
technologies to meet the challenge of climate change. Varieties
resistant to drought and high temperature have been developed and
farmers need to adopt them to improve productivity despite change in
climate pattern.

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