Author: Aathira Perinchery

Extreme weather events and agriculture: what are the impacts and what’s in store?

Source(s): Mongabay
  • Recent extreme weather events are destroying standing crops as well as causing other impacts such as climate-triggered pestilence.
  • Such events are more likely to occur in future, and this can create problems for rain-fed agriculture because we won’t get the right amount of rain at the right time, say climate scientists.
  • Farmers say they need more reliable forecasts as well as rescue, relief and rehabilitation measures – including crop insurance – to aid climate-resilient farming.


When weather patterns deviate from the norm this way, farmers, whose livelihoods are tied to predictable weather patterns, are among the many who bear the brunt. News houses reported on how floods alone cost India crops standing on 18.176 million hectares of land between 2017 and 2019, according to data shared by the government in the Lok Sabha in February this year.

Wayanad in northern Kerala, for instance, is witnessing weather patterns that even old and experienced farmers have never seen before, said Rajesh Krishnan, a paddy farmer who heads the Tirunelli Agri Producer Company, a collective of around 100 organic farmers in the area.

“Both 2015 and 2016 were drought years, with a monsoon deficiency of around 65%,” he said. “Then 2018 and 2019 saw intense rains that occurred over just a couple of months, while drought-like conditions prevailed for the rest of the year.”

While landslides and land erosion that destroy standing crops are the major fallouts of such intense rain over short periods of time, erratic rains also cause another issue: pestilence. Last year, for instance, saw no visible destruction such as landslides but incessant rains that dragged into September and October caused crop yields to dip by half due to persistent bacterial and fungal crop infections, said Krishnan.


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