Weather woes: India’s federally held foodstock declined to a five-year low primarily because extreme weather severely affected the production of wheat and rice.

India’s rice and wheat stocks take a plunge due to extreme weather

Data from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) revealed the country’s federally held foodstock declined to a five-year low primarily because extreme weather severely affected the production of wheat (winter crop) and rice (summer crop). This foodstock is supplied at subsidised rates to 800 million people. The data, however, also showed total stock of rice and wheat was at 51.4 million tonnes—66% above the mandatory buffer norm and strategic reserve stockpile that the government has to maintain towards the end of the year. 

According to the FCI data, the government has enough rice stock to meet domestic requirements, but wheat stocks are at a 14-year-low because farmers preferred selling their produce to private traders amidst high demand as a result of the Ukraine crisis. 

In several parts of Tamil Nadu, paddy farmers were severely impacted by heavy rainfall. The farmers were in the midst of harvesting and storing grains ahead of the northeast monsoon, which is expected at the end of October. But the untimely showers led to huge losses for the farmers. 

Southwest monsoon withdraws from northwest India; tropical storm brewing in Bay of Bengal

The southwest monsoon withdrew from northwest India after a 15-day delay and 346% surplus rain for the month of October. According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the monsoon has beat the retreat in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and parts of Bihar and Maharashtra. 

In Kerala, the IMD stated that conditions were favourable for the onset of a normal northeast monsoon season. Last year, Kerala recorded the highest ever northeast monsoon rainfall in the state’s history at 1,026.3 mm against the long-period average (LPA) of 491.6 mm.  

Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) warned of a cyclonic storm building in the Bay of Bengal, which is likely to make landfall on Sunday. If it doesn intensify into a cyclone, it is likely to be called Sitrang. Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh are likely to be affected. 

Flooding in Nigeria kills 600 people, displaces 1.3 million others

Floods in Nigeria have killed more than 600 people and displaced 1.3 million people across 33 of 36 Nigerian states. According to officials, floods have inundated 3,400 sqkm of land. Authorities fear this will further exacerbate the country’s food supply chain, which is already stressed because of conflict in northwest and central Nigeria. While flooding at this time of the year is expected, 2022 has seen the worst floods in a decade. According to authorities, this is primarily because of extreme rainfall and the release of excess water in a dam in neighbouring Cameroon. 

Grazing animals play major role in stabilising soil carbon: Study

Grazing animals such as the Yak and Ibek are essential in stabilising soil carbon, a new study found. The 16-year study by the Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES) and the Divecha Centre for Climate Change (DCCC), IISc, found that removing these herbivores from grazing ecosystems, such as Spiti in the Himalayas, increased the fluctuation of soil carbon levels. This negatively impacts the global carbon cycle, the study found. 

These findings are important because the soil pool is considered to be a reliable carbon sink. Therefore, keeping soil carbon levels stable is essential to combat climate change, researchers said.

69% drop in wildlife population since 1970: WWF data

According to the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Index, there has been a 69% drop on average in wild animals on earth since 1970. This includes mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish. Latin America and the Caribbean, monitored wildlife population dropped by 94% on average between 1970 and 2018, the data revealed. The findings are crucial ahead of the Convention of Biological Diversity COP15 to be held in December.

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