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‘Review power pricing policy for agriculture’

According to reports, a recent study has signalled the need for a review of the electricity pricing policy for agriculture.

The findings of this study on climate change and its impact on groundwater irrigation showed that for every one degree Celsius increase in temperature, the groundwater table fell by 0.30-0.55 metres.

Similarly, poor rainfall, increase in the number of wells and increase in area under water-intensive crops such as sugarcane and coconut would cause a fall in the water table level significantly.

The findings also showed that there has been a steady fall in water table level after the introduction of full subsidy for electricity used in groundwater pumping for agriculture, and the small and marginal farmers – worst affected due to increasing scarcity of groundwater.

“Since groundwater contributes for more than 60 per cent of the total agricultural water use and more than 80 per cent of drinking water requirements, climate change has tremendous impact on groundwater resources and consequently on agriculture and drinking water use,” the report said.

Due to poor rainfall, there is more demand for groundwater, resulting in more pumping of this resource at present.

To discuss such issues and more, a policy seminar on ‘climate change impacts in South India’ was held at the Rasi Seeds Hall, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University this morning.

The seminar is funded by the South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics, Kathmandu, said R. Balasubramanian, Principal Investigator of the project.

This project, which was started in September 2011, comes to a close next month.

Balasubramanian said that the progress of the project was reviewed from time to time and the final draft report presented during the third week of June at Bangkok

“This seminar is being held to discuss the results with extension workers and disciplinary peers to submit our report to the State Government,” he said.

Later briefing presspersons, Balasubramanian said that water saving techniques did not necessarily result in saving of this depleting natural groundwater resource. “When farmers plan to go for perennial crop (under irrigated conditions), we advice them against expansion in crop area during normal years, as the crop is fully affected during drought years.”

The Vice-Chancellor of the farm varsity K. Ramasamy earlier urged stakeholders to change in accordance with the current changes.

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