The most dangerous consequences of climate change are higher temperatures and changing landscape. It impacts nature and people. The Amity School of Natural Resources and Sustainable Development (ASNRSD) organized a two-day national workshop on 'Climate Change Impact, Mitigation and Adaptation for a Sustainable Horticulture' at Amity University, in Noida. This workshop aimed to provide a platform for exchange of views among the environment experts to set a road-map for adaptation options towards resilience in horticulture crops and future strategies.
Various topics were deliberated during the technical sessions including 'Climate Change Impact, Mitigation and Adaptation'; 'Climate Change and Its Effect on Horticulture and Livelihood', 'Mitigation and Adaptation Measures' and 'Institutional Mechanism and National Plan' among others. The workshop was attended by more than 100 researchers, horticulturists, forest officers, horticulture officers and students. The participants posed various questions pertaining to mitigation and adaptation strategies, new crop model and virus control which were efficiently addressed by the speakers.
Sharing his views on horticulture in India, N. K. Krishna Kumar, DDG ( Hort.), Indian Council of Agriculture Research, said, "Horticulture is a rising enterprise which contributes nearly 30% to original GDP and last year, horticulture production for the first time, was more than agricultural production since Independence. The impact of climate change and global warming have become a matter of grave concern for the sustainable horticulture development. Environmental conditions such as increase in temperature, variability of rainfall and cyclonic patterns are causing adverse effect on the production. Price rise of commodities are due to the crop destruction caused by frequent rains, cyclones or other natural calamities."
Dr. Krishna informed that Apple farming is an important activity in Indian Horticulture and it is being affected due to increase in temperature. He said, "There is a lack of research in the area of Horticulture in order to determine the impact of climate change on it. Capacity building and awareness of the researchers, students, policy planners and farmers working in the area of horticulture is the need of the hour."
Encapsulating the link between climate change and horticulture, Chief Guest Prodipto Ghosh, IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary MoEF, Distinguished Fellow and Director, Earth Sciences and Climate Change, TERI, said, "Climate change, a global phenomenon, has attracted attention to mitigate adverse impacts on horticulture, considering the production level in tonnes in India. The entirety of human existence depends on six inches of top soil. Air Pollution and other harmful adulterations in urban areas affect the health of entire ecological system. Hence, the scale of the challenges posed by climate change requires urgent action. Climate change is allied to two aspects, mitigation and adaptation. He stressed that it is important to understand the impact and develop relevant adaptation strategies to sustain the productivity and profitability of horticulture crops in the climate change scenario."
Addressing the gathering, Prof. B.K.P. Sinha, Advisor, ASNRSD, said, "India is a land with diverse soil and climate which provides perfect conditions to grow a variety of horticulture crops which cover nearly 11.6 million hectares area with an annual production of 91 million tones. The magnitude of climate change impact depends on the region and its location, still climate change is expected to impact adversely on Indian agricultural productivity. Proper strategies had to be envisaged for saving horticulture and called upon the researchers, students, policy planners, horticulturists and farmers to identify risks and create adaptation options for resilience in horticultural crops."
Naresh Kumar, Principal Scientist, Indian Agricultural Research Institute briefed the participants on topic 'Climate change sends India's Apple farmers up the Himalayas' and said, "Apples in Himalayan foothills are seeing the worst effect of climate changes. Due to rising temperature, Apple cultivation in low altitudes has reduced by 77% in Solan between 1981 and 2007. The most visible change for farmers has been in snowfall which shapes the apple crop and majority of farmers admitted delay in apple's harvesting period. He mentioned that farmers of lower altitudes are unable to adapt to erratic weather conditions which is affecting the production. In the light of global warming, researchers should give more emphasis on development of heat and drought- resistance crops."
During the session, M. K. Reddy, Head, Division of Plant Pathology, Indian Institute of Horticulture Research apprised on changing virus disease scenario in Horticultural crops due to climate change. Dr. Reddy said, "There has been an increase of 2% in new viruses in crops which have developed due to changing climatic conditions. The impact of climate change has resulted in decrease of production of quality food and nutrition. Many insects and viruses are adopting to the climate change with most them in Asia which resulted in increase to frequency of application of pesticides."