Assessing the costs of ozone pollution in India for wheat producers, consumers, and government food welfare policies

Divya Pandey, Katrina Sharps, David Simpson, Bharat Ramaswami, Roger Cremades, Nathan Booth, Chubamenla Jamir, Patrick Büker, Vinayak Sinha, Baerbel Sinha, Lisa D. Emberson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


We assess wheat yield losses occurring due to ozone pollution in India and its economic burden on producers, consumers, and the government. Applying an ozone flux-based risk assessment, we show that ambient ozone levels caused a mean 14.18% reduction in wheat yields during 2008 to 2012. Furthermore, irrigated wheat was particularly sensitive to ozone-induced yield losses, indicating that ozone pollution could undermine climate-change adaptation efforts through irrigation expansion. Applying an economic model, we examine the effects of a counterfactual, "pollution-free" scenario on yield losses, wheat prices, consumer and producer welfare, and government costs. We explore three policy scenarios in which the government support farmers at observed levels of either procurement prices (fixed-price), procurement quantities (fixed-procurement), or procurement expenditure (fixed-expenditure). In pollution-free conditions, the fixed-price scenario absorbs the fall in prices, thus increasing producer welfare by USD 2.7 billion, but total welfare decreases by USD 0.24 billion as government costs increase (USD 2.9 billion). In the fixed-procurement and fixed-expenditure scenarios, ozone mitigation allows wheat prices to fall by 38.19 to 42.96%. The producers lose by USD 5.10 to 6.01 billion, but the gains to consumers and governments (USD 8.7 to 10.2 billion) outweigh these losses. These findings show that the government and consumers primarily bear the costs of ozone pollution. For pollution mitigation to optimally benefit wheat production and maximize social welfare, new approaches to support producers other than fixed-price grain procurement may be required. We also emphasize the need to consider air pollution in programs to improve agricultural resilience to climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2207081120
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number32
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2023


  • air pollution
  • food security
  • ozone-flux
  • wheat prices
  • wheat production


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