Climate Change Shifts India's Pearl Millet Production Zone

  • 11 Sep 2023

According to a recent study, India's primary pearl millet or bajra production region has been relocated to 18 districts across eastern Rajasthan and Haryana between 1998 and 2017, driven by increased rainfall linked to human-induced climate change.

Key Points

  • Change Trigger: A study published this year revealed that the core pearl millet production area in India has shifted due to increased rainfall influenced by climate change.
  • Data Sources: The study utilized data from crop models and digital technology to assess the shift and recommended a revision of India's pearl millet Total Population Environments (TPE).
  • Classification: India categorizes pearl millet cultivation zones based on rainfall patterns and soil types.
  • Zones: These zones include arid regions of Rajasthan (Zone ‘A1’), semi-arid regions in north and central India (Zone ‘A’), and semi-arid regions with heavy soils in southern and central western India (Zone ‘B’).
  • Zone ‘A’ Subdivision: The paper proposed subdividing Zone ‘A’ into three subzones — ‘G’, ‘AE1’, and ‘AE2’. Zone ‘G’ encompasses Gujarat, ‘AE1’ covers eastern Rajasthan and Haryana, and ‘AE2’ includes 12 districts in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
  • More Rainfall: Climate change has led to increased rainfall in Zone ‘G,’ covering seven districts in Gujarat.
  • Cultivation Shift: Farmers have altered their cultivation practices, shifting from pearl millet to cash crops like cotton and castor beans due to increased rainfall and a 2.2% annual rise in irrigation.