Loday Phuntsho and Lhap Dorji
In Bhutan, Renewable Natural Resources Sector (Agriculture, Livestock and Forestry) provides livelihood for close to 57% of the total population and accounts for 16.8% of the total GDP, and Agriculture Sector alone contributes more than 10% to the total GDP. Hence, Agriculture in general and horticulture in particular has a critical role in the Nation’s stride towards achieving self-reliance and sustainable development goals. Horticulture sector is recognized as one of the industries of the future given its potential for income generation and enhancing food and nutritional security. However, Agriculture sub-sector is buffeted by number of challenges and of particular interest is climate change since it is one of the sectors expected to bear the brunt of climate change. Climate in Bhutan is changing. Some studies show that over the last two and half a decade, temperature has risen by 0.3 to 0.5oC and rainfall has become more erratic. Hence, the needs to study the potential impact of climate change on the scope of agricultural crops, particularly on economically important crops. In this study, impact of climate change on two most important fruit crops, apple and mandarin orange, was studied using FAO’s EcoCrop Model in the year 2050 under two emission scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5). The result shows considerable change in the areas suitable for these two important horticultural fruit crops. Of the two, apple loses net suitability area under both the scenarios with maximum under RCP 8.5, whereas mandarin gains under both the scenarios with maximum under RCP 4.5. The study is expected to provide useful information regarding future adaption strategies.
Climate change; apple; mandarin orange; eco-crop model; suitability area
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