The Solution to Climate Change is GM Crops
To reeling from two consecutive droughts, come back from the brink, the normal monsoon in 2016 helped India and also helped take food-grain output to a new high. The IMD forecast of a near normal monsoon brings smile on the farmer's face.
Due to rising incomes and a growing economy there is the betterment of living standards, this generally leads to important shifts in agriculture such as shift in focus from yield maximisation to quality of produce; focus on value-addition in post-harvest segments and finally reduced focus on cereal crops and a greater diversification to fruits, vegetables, other cash crops and livestock.
In much higher concentrations of salt water, the modified crops could survive. The opportunities are endless and as the case of GM mustard and Bt Brinjal.
All technologies that are safe should be adopted and let the farmers decide what works for them best. It is acknowledged that GM technology may not be able to provide solutions to all problems but this should not be a reason for its exclusion as well.
Water availability per capita has declined from 5,000 cubic metres (m3) per annum in 1950 to around 2,000 m3 now in India. And it is projected to decline to 1500 m3 by 2025 leading to far less water availability for agriculture. As the country uses more than 80 per cent of the surface water for agricultural sector alone, the water availability for agricultural use has reached a critical level.
India is also the largest user of groundwater in the world with over 60 per cent of irrigated agriculture and 85 per cent of drinking water supplies dependent on aquifers. Given that industry and households use only 20 per cent of water resources, policy makers should not hold industry by the throat and demand a reduction in their share of water use. To improve water use efficiency and battle climate change, instead there needs to be concerted effort to utilise the benefits of agri-science.