Climate change is hurting India’s rice crop

In Haryana’s Bithmara, about 200 kilometres (124 miles) northwest of the capital New Delhi, 37-year-old Satish Jangra is distraught after seeing his paddy crops destroyed due to untimely and incessant rainfall in early August.

“I am compelled to leave farming. The cost is much more than the output and I am falling into a debt trap,” he said.

Each year, Jangra would till 3 hectares (8 acres) of his neighbour’s land in which he cultivated mostly paddy and other grains like wheat and millets. That has now been reduced to 1 hectare (3 acres). He is thinking of either changing the paddy field to another crop variety or stopping tilling the land altogether so that he does not have to worry about the losses each year.

“You spend thousands on different fertilisers, diesel, water etc and when it’s time for output for paddy especially, you just get into losses,” he told Al Jazeera.

Traders pay according to the quality of the rice, but over time farmers say, the quality has decreased.

He still has to pay a $600 loan to the bank and for that, he is now looking for an alternative.

“I have started working in a small furniture shop because I cannot be dependent on just farming,” he said.

In eastern India’s Jamui Bihar village, farmer Rajkumar Yadav’s troubles are the opposite of Jangra’s as he waits for rainfall so that his paddy crops do not dry up.

Each morning and evening, the 55-year-old’s family takes water from their well to sprinkle on the crops. He says his family can no longer rely on the monsoon.

“In our area only 10 percent sowing of crops has happened so far because there is no rainfall. We all are dependent on the Tubewell [used to pump groundwater], which is also drying due to high temperatures,” he said.