Effect of climate variables on yield of major food-crops in Nepal -A time-series analysis-
Climate change influences crop yield vis-à-vis crop production to a greater extent in countries like Nepal where agriculture depends largely on natural circumstances. Plausible scenarios of climate change like higher temperatures and changes in precipitation will directly affect crop yields. Therefore, this study assesses the effect of observed climate variables on yield of major food-crops in Nepal, namely rice, wheat, maize, millet, barley and potato based on regression model for historical (1978-2008) climatic data and yield data for the food-crops. The yield growth rate of all the food-crops is positive. However, the growth rate for all crops, except potato and wheat, is below population growth rate during the period. Climate variables like temperature and precipitation are the important determinants of crop yields. Trend of precipitation is neither increasing nor decreasing significantly during this period. However, temperature is increasing by 0.7 0C during the period. Climate variables show some influences on the yield of these major food-crops in Nepal. Increase in summer rain and maximum temperature has contributed positively to rice yield. Also, increase in summer rain and minimum temperature has positive impact on potato yield. However, increase in summer rain and maximum temperature adversely affected the yield of maize and millet. Increase in wheat and barley yield is contributed by current trend of winter rain and temperature. Consideration of spatial variation in similar type of study in Nepal that will be helpful in identifying the region more vulnerable to climate change in terms of crop yield is highly recommended.
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