Food security is severely influenced by climate change. The changing climate will influence the food grain production in different ways. For example, the temporal and spatial variations in precipitation including rainfall may result in deficit moisture stress, i.e. drought or excess moisture stress condition, i.e. flooding. Similarly, extreme high or low temperatures result in variations in the length of crop growing season. These factors would also affect the crop productivity and farm net income and hence climate resilient agricultural practices have to be promoted.
This is applicable to all the nations, including India. Understanding the impact of climate change on Indian agri culture is quite complex as several factors are involved in this phenomenon. For example, the negative effect of global warming on crop productivity in India may be compensated by carbon fertilization to some extent.
Several researchers conducted studies on the interrelationship between climate change and food security in relation to impacts of climate change on crop productivity, food production and socio-economic aspects. Gregory et al based on their experiments conducted on wheat and rice reported that global warming would result in decreased crop duration. It is already established that some factors of climate such as increased carbon dioxide level would play a positive role in enhancing crop productivity. However, the crop productivity would be negatively influenced by changes caused by extreme variation in temperature and nutrient interactions and higher rate of natural disasters such as floods and droughts. The fourth assessment report (AR4) of The International Panel on Climate Change predicted an increase in global temperature by 2–6°C by the year 2100 which is alarming. The expected crop yield due to climate change can also be predicted over a period of time through modelling. Jones and Thornton The expected crop yield due to climate change can also be predicted over a period of time through modelling. Jones and Thornton conducted study on the simulations of maize production in Africa and Latin America based on the climate data derived from the Had CM2 model and an overall yield reduction of 10% was predicted by 2055.
The changing climate affects food security at the global level as it brings remarkable changes in land utilization pattern and water resource availability. At the same time, increased human interference may fasten the changes. It was reported that ever increasing human population coupled with their changing dietary preferences significantly increased global demand for food and thereby generating tremendous pressure on native vegetation and ecosystems. India also faces a similar grim situation in tackling the issues related to food security and policies related to globalization further affected the environmental health stressing the need for regulation of the same.
Though climate change related agricultural research has been focused on assessing the response of various growth parameters of crops due to specific changes in climate, accurate analysis of food security indicators could not be achieved which reflects the vulnerability of food systems to global climate change (Figure 1).
This is due to the fact that the individual assessments in general study climate variability without any
integrated approach as they mainly focus on bio-physical aspects of production only. As a result, the food accessibility and food consumption elements of food security get little attention. There is an urgent need to address the food security concerns that are central to economic and sustainable development issues in both India and the other nations which is possible by integrating bio-physical and socio-economic aspects of food systems.
Climate change in the recent years has resulted in higher frequency of floods and droughts, making the objective of attaining food security very complex. Hence, the future research efforts related to management aspects of tackling vulnerability caused by natural hazards must consider the social, economic and geo-political constraints.
Enhancing the resilience of human systems to cope with extreme climatic stresses should become the main objective. There is a strong need to address changes in institutions and resource accessibility to tackle the climate induced natural hazards.
Overall, the agricultural practices have to be reoriented which would provide better climate resilience and enhanced net farm income. The capacity of people to cope with climate change and its related edaphic changes varies from one region to another in India. The study also suggested that an integrated approach is highly essential to address the food insecurity concerns. On the basis of specific problems faced by the farmers, the approach should be different.
For example, in the western IGP, food systems are most vulnerable to problems such as excessive irrigation coupled with rising water tables and soil salinity, whereas in the eastern IGP, problems such as rising sea level and increased risk of flooding are generally witnessed and farmers have little capacity to tackle them. Hence, it can be stated that food security can be achieved by tackling the specific challenges related to climate change in diversified regions.