One of the most serious implications of climate change is the intensity and frequency of extreme events on the agricultural production.
The average global temperature is projected change from 0.3 C to 0.7 for the period 2016-2035. Compared with ocean the land will see higher temperatures in the near future that would be bigger than the mean. Food security and agriculture will be adversely effected due to frequent hot temperatures on the land.
To address climate change on a priority basis, it is imperative to invest on natural ecosystems instead of relying solely on engineered infrastructure. The conventional method of tackling extreme events such as droughts and floods with engineering would serve better with the ecosystems methodology that combines land management and water conservation and promotion of sustainable and equable development.
Climate change should be viewed along with many other challenges that adversely impact water resources such as urbanization, population growth and land use. Irrigation is synonymous with water. A crop such as rice is water intensive, for example, it takes around 4,000 liters of water to cultivate 1 kg of rice.
The most serious implications for agricultural production are intensity and frequency of extreme events. Droughts’ impact is serious and urgent. Some of the solutions are the use of drought tolerant species or crops that withstand water stress. As viable alternatives to water-intensive crops such as rice, sorghum and millets can be a panacea, not only to address climatic conditions but to improve human and animal nutrition in the resource-poor and vulnerable communities. For example, barley was first cereal consumed naturally before humans started its cultivation.
What actions do you propose?
The semiarid regions of Africa and Asia widely consume sorghum and millets, and to a certain extent in northern Europe. In central parts of Europe the sorghum cultivation is becoming attractive and cultivation acreage has seen an increase. In general, cereals such as rice, wheat and maize receive attention from consumers, farmers, policy makers, etc. However awareness of the benefits of sorghum and millets is imperative among the general public. These have immense potential to grow in dry conditions with concomitant health benefits—certainly super foods on the platter. There is an urgent need to revert and strengthen sorghum and millets cultivation. Earlier in the human history these cereals were dominant and flourished but due to policy changes and Green Revolution have been relegated. Not only they have a long history of cultivation for nutritional value and for health promotion but have the ability to grow in low input conditions, tolerance to extreme weather stresses. This research will ask: How to document and disseminate the potential of sorghum and millet in mitigating climate change and in the promotion of their nutrition value for human development.
Who will take these actions?
Directorate of Sorghum Research, Hyderabad, India.
Local NGO networks
National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, India
College of Home Science, Hyderabad, India
Where will these actions be taken?
In the state of Telangana, India. The state has 31 districts and it is semiarid. The beneficiaries will chosen from each of these districts. A baseline survey will be conduct to assess socio-economic conditions and a pilot study will be conducted. Parameters such as health, crop pattern and cultural issues will be analyzed to examine the feasibility and scalability of millets and sorghum cultivation and food consumption.
What are other key benefits?
Mitigate adverse effects of drought.
Improve nutritional status of children, women and mothers.
Revert to traditional methods of cultivation with low inputs for maximum crop yields.
What are the proposal’s costs?
USD 1 million
Short term (5-15 years)