Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) under Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India is running a flagship network project ‘National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture’ (NICRA) in 2011. The project aims at strategic research on adaptation and mitigation, demonstration of technologies on farmers’ fields and creating awareness among farmers and other stakeholders to minimise the impact of climate change on agriculture, Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on Friday.
In the strategic research, the main thrust areas covered are (i) identifying most vulnerable districts and regions, (ii) evolving crop varieties and management practices for adaptation and mitigation, (iii) assessing climate change impacts on livestock, fisheries and poultry and identifying adaptation strategies, the minister further informed the upper house of Indian parliament.
So far, seven climate-resilient varieties and 650 district agricultural contingency plans have been developed besides assessing the risk and vulnerability of Indian agriculture to climate change. Under technology demonstrations, location-specific technologies have been demonstrated in 151 climatically vulnerable districts, Tomar said.
In the past nine years, 16,958 training programmes have been conducted throughout the country under NICRA project to educate stakeholders on various aspects of climate change and resilient technologies, covering 514,816 stakeholders so as to enable wider adoption of climate-resilient technologies and increase in yields, the agriculture minister informed.
NICRA: The road towards climate-resilient agriculture
State-of-the-art infrastructure facilities have been established by ICAR in the National Agricultural Research and Education System (NARES) across India to facilitate climate change research. Unique infrastructure facilities such as High Throughput Plant Phenomics, Free Air Temperature Enrichment Facility (FATE), Free Air CO2 Enrichment Facility (FACE), CO2 Temperature Gradient Chambers (CTGC), Gas chromatography, Atomic absorption spectrophotometers, Environmental growth chamber, UV-VIS spectrophotometer, Thermal imaging system and Psychrometric chambers have been established at various ICAR institutes to facilitate the climate change research. The construction and operation of psychometric chambers have been undertaken for studying the effect of different environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, and air movement on livestock, with special reference to cattle and buffaloes, environmental growth chambers with CO2 and temperature controls and a special calorimetric system to study livestock response to heat stress. Custom Hiring Centers (CHCs) have been established in 121 NICRA villages to ensure the availability of farm implements for timely operations, he further said in the parliament.