Explainer: How the heatwave has hit wheat production
New Delhi, Apr 13: The Centre on Tuesday formed five teams to assess the shrivelled grains because of the early onset of the heatwave, following a request by the Punjab government for revisiting the specifications in the wheat purchase.
Punjab Food and Civil Supplies Minister Lal Chand Kataruchak said the sudden heatwave, which started quite early from the last week of March itself and continued over the last two weeks, has caused the wheat grain to shrivel.
It is unfair to refuse to purchase any heap brought in by the farmer, which has a higher percentage of shrivelled grains than what is prescribed, he added.
It should be noted that the weather department has said temperatures broke all records, making this March India's hottest in 122 years since 1901.
"The monthly average for March 2022 stands at 33.1 degrees Celsius, breaking the all-time record of 33.09 degrees Celsius of 2010," the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
IMD officials said a prolonged dry spell has led to severe hot weather conditions in northwest India.
So, How does the heat wave affect crops?
The impact of a heatwave on agriculture can be direct (physical damage to crops, animals and trees caused by the extreme hydro-meteorological events), or indirect (loss of potential production owing to disturbed flow of goods and services, lost production capacities, and increased costs of production).
Heatwave impacts crop growth and development at different levels like soil moisture uptake, root and shoot growth, photosynthesis, respiration, plant water uptake and final yield. Heatwave competes for soil moisture by hastened evaporation, leaving almost no moisture for uptake by plants. Heatwave also causes an overall environmental degradation, which is a major factor contributing to the vulnerability of agriculture, forestry and rangelands to heatwaves.
According to a team of researchers led by the University of Colorado Boulder has found that the Heat waves, which are projected to become more frequent and intense as the century progresses, could cause as much as 10 times more crop damage than is now projected,
The heat is shrinking the wheat kernels and raising their protein levels, which means farmers are yielding half of what they normally do. The heat is also damaging canola and safflower oil seed crops, and making most fruits and vegetables too soft to harvest - resulting in major losses.