• World Food Day, observed on October 16, commemorates the establishment of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 1945, with the primary aim of ensuring global food and nutrition security post-World War II.
  • The theme for World Food Day 2023, “Water is Life. Water is Food,” underscores the critical role of water resources in agriculture. Reviewing India’s progress towards food security and sustainable water use is pertinent in this context.
  • Climate change poses significant challenges to sustainable development, particularly affecting diverse ecosystems and agriculture.


Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture in India:

Changes in Rainfall and Temperatures:

  • Erratic rainfall and temperature fluctuations (extreme heat and cold) negatively impact crop growth, leading to reduced productivity.
  • Example: The 2015-16 droughts severely affected crop yields in Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Extreme Weather Events:

  • The increasing frequency of dry spells, droughts, heatwaves, and floods disrupt agricultural cycles.
  • Example: The 2019 floods in Bihar and Assam caused extensive damage to standing crops and agricultural infrastructure.

Food Security and Socioeconomic Stability:

  • Climate-induced production risks threaten food security and nutrition, destabilizing rural economies.
  • Example: Farmers in rain-fed regions face income instability due to unpredictable weather patterns.

Geographical Variation in Climate Impact:

  • The extent of climate change effects on agriculture varies across India’s diverse agro-climatic zones.
  • Example: Coastal regions are more vulnerable to cyclones, while northern states face increased glacier melt and water scarcity.

Specific Impacts on Agricultural Factors:

Temperature Variation:

  • Altered growing seasons and increased heat stress on crops.
  • Example: Wheat production in Punjab is affected by rising winter temperatures.

Greenhouse Gas Concentrations:

  • Elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 and other greenhouse gases impact crop physiology.
  • Example: Higher CO2 levels can boost crop yields but also exacerbate pest and weed problems.

Rainfall Variability:

  • Increased occurrence of floods and droughts, affecting soil moisture and crop health.
  • Example: Erratic monsoon patterns disrupt traditional farming schedules in the Indo-Gangetic plains.

Groundwater Recharge:

  • Depletion of groundwater resources due to over-extraction and reduced recharge rates.
  • Example: Declining water tables in states like Punjab and Haryana, heavily reliant on groundwater for irrigation.


Over the past three years (2020-21 to 2022-23), India exported 85 million tonnes of cereals, including rice, wheat, and corn, showcasing its agricultural resilience.

India is the largest producer of milk and has significantly increased the production of fish and poultry since 2000-2001, marking the success of the green, white, pink (poultry), and blue (fisheries) revolutions.

Despite these achievements, challenges remain, as highlighted by the National Family Health Survey (2020-22): 16.6% of India’s population is malnourished, with 35% of children under five stunted and 32% underweight.

Addressing the impacts of climate change on agriculture is crucial for sustaining these gains and ensuring long-term food and nutrition security.

Legacy Editor Changed status to publish June 3, 2024