Global food production must increase by 70 percent to meet a population of more than 9 billion in 2050. India, with a current population of 1.3 billion and rising, is central to this challenge. Photo: M. DeFreese/CIMMYT
EL BATAN, Mexico (CIMMYT) – A new study identifies the key ways to keep up with India’s rising food demand while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.
As incomes rise in developing countries, many go through ‘nutrition transition’ away from staple crops towards high greenhouse gas-producing foods like meat and dairy. India, however, has a cultural preference for a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet — dairy, eggs, and plant-based products — and is likely to differ in this regard from similar developing countries, like China or Brazil.
In India, the majority of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture are produced from agricultural inputs, farm machinery, soil displacement, residue management and irrigation.
Authors in a recent study from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) have identified higher emissions from continuously flooded rice, compared to rice which has more frequent periods of water drainage, and a wide range of emissions for other crops due to variation in fertilizer application.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has placed emphasis on mitigation of greenhouse gases from agriculture and a number of strategies have been proposed. Measuring emissions from different crops and management systems can help identify the most efficient way to reduce future greenhouse gas emissions while keeping up with food demand.
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