Crops | VOL. 16, ISSUE 96, May-June 2016

Changing Climate and Traditional Crops

The warming of the earth’s climate system since the last five decades has brought in ominous changes all over the world. Extreme weather events (cold and heat waves, floods and droughts) are becoming frequent occurrences globally, and cold days and nights are reducing against the increasing number of warm days and nights (IPCC, 2014). Such changing climate affect plant systems and their life cycles, crop growth and development, thereby reducing the quality or quantity of crop plants (Tripathi et al., 2016). Studies have indicated that a 1oC increase in global temperature will lead to reduced productivity in cultivated plants (Lobell et al., 2013). Though there are some positive impacts of increasing carbon dioxide concentration in carbon fixation process in plants, the resultant increase in temperature negate this and affect the production and quality of many crops especially the traditional or climate-adapted food crops (Ludwig & Asseng, 2010; Tripathi & Singh, 2013). Traditional crops and their importance Traditional crops are the indigenous varieties developed over decades or centuries to ensure good, sustainable yields in a specific region. These have immense importance in crop rotation, inter-cropping, mixed cropping and in adaptation to harsh environmental conditions. In many other developing countries with rich agricultural traditions, the changing climate and related weather shifts are taking their toll on ‘traditional crops’, resulting in an alarming loss in agro-diversity.

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