ICRISAT to develop strategies for coping with climate change

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Hyderabad, Jun 5 (UNI) ICRISAT Director General Willaim Dar today said the institute was intensively working with its partners to develop science-based strategies that empower vulnerable communities to cope with climate change in the dry tropics of the world.

In a statement on the occasion of World Environment Day, he said short to medium term strategies to help farmers face the challenges of climate change might include helping farmers and their support agents to cope better with current rainfall variability as a prerequisite for adapting to future climate change. The medium to long term strategies coulde involve adapting dryland crops like sorghum, millet, groundnut, chickpea and pigeonpea to grow in a warmer world.

''Climate variability and change is an important consideration for ICRISAT, given our mandate for the improvement of rainfed farming systems in the dry tropics of the developing world,'' he said.

Satellite data showed that the dry tropics, where rainfed agriculture provided 60 per cent of the world's food, would be the most vulnerable to climate change.

ICRISAT data showed that increase in temperature would have a significant (eight per cent to 30 per cent) reduction in grain yields of dryland crops. Nevertheless, due to their evolutionary advantage, dryland crops were better adapted than other major food crops (rice, maize and wheat) to environmental stresses such as drought.

''ICRISAT believes that the ability of agricultural communities and agricultural stakeholders must first be enhanced to enable them to cope better with current climatic variability if they are to adapt to the predicted future increases in climate variability,'' Dr Dar added.

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