Despite recurring droughts and floods in various parts of the country, because of changing climatic patterns, Indian agriculture is gradually developing a semblance of resistance to changing weather patterns.
India’s total annual foodgrain production has seldom dropped below 200 million tonnes since 2005-06, despite suffering drought or floods in some parts of the country, including the worst drought in more than 30 years in 2009.
“Thanks to our farm scientists and policies, Indian agriculture actually developing certain degree of resistance to climate change,” Agriculture minister said Sharad Pawar said during the annual Economic Editors Conference today.
He said in 2012-13 despite poor rains in the initial months pulling down kharif foodgrains production by almost 10%, much of the losses would be recouped if Indian farmers take full advantage of delayed revival of rains during the rabi season.
"Better rainfall in August and September has provided us an opportunity for good rabi (winter) season ahead. Moisture position is comparatively good and that's why we will be able to recoup kharif losses in the rabi season," he said, adding that monsoon deficit has come down to 6 per cent now.
On the oft-repeated incidents of farmers’ suicides, Pawar said that farmers' suicide is big problem and it is continuous, but the percentage is definitely coming down.
“It is true that this (farmers suicides) is a serious issue before us. However, the percentage of farmers' suicide is coming down," the minister said. He said there are various reasons for suicides such as loss of crop due to drought, disease and other factors.
Pawar said in Maharashtra there were 1,035 cases of farmers’ suicide due to agrarian reason in 2006. It came down to 800 in 2008, 700 in 2007 and then rose to 740 in 2010 before coming down to 480 in 2011 in the state.
"So far this year, the number of farmer’s suicides cases (in Maharashtra) reported is 168," he added.
Similarly, In Andhra Pradesh, the cases related to suicide by farmers stood at 757 in 2006, but declined to 196 in 2011, Pawar added.