Agriculture is likely one of the most susceptible sectors owing to its excessive dependence on local weather

By Raju Kapoor

The twenty sixth session of Convention of the Events (COP 26) to the UNFCCC has sparked many conversations on local weather change and the way we will mitigate the affect. A paper on the angle of Least Developed International locations, launched earlier this 12 months, cites the wants of countries most acutely threatened by local weather change, and says COP 26 can not succeed with out delivering for essentially the most susceptible.

Agriculture is likely one of the most susceptible sectors owing to its excessive dependence on local weather and climate situations. India is likely one of the largest meals producers on the planet, with about 68{c34e2c9cd63a11c97fab811dbaaefe0cfbb1edd2527888e1a44d36f3491ee811} of its 1.3 billion inhabitants instantly or not directly engaged in agriculture. Although agricultural contribution to GDP has gone down from 51{c34e2c9cd63a11c97fab811dbaaefe0cfbb1edd2527888e1a44d36f3491ee811} within the Nineteen Fifties to round 16{c34e2c9cd63a11c97fab811dbaaefe0cfbb1edd2527888e1a44d36f3491ee811}, the variety of households dependant on agriculture have elevated from 70 million in 1951 to 120 million in 2020. This large dependence on agriculture makes India extra susceptible to local weather change. In accordance with the Financial Survey of 2017 – the nation incurs losses to the tune of USD 9-10 billion yearly resulting from excessive climate situations. It’s a key problem for meals safety and rural livelihoods within the nation.

Key challenges aggravating local weather change

Regardless that the dependence on agriculture has elevated, the arable land has been lowering in measurement in addition to high quality, lowering the common measurement of land holdings to 1.08 hectares. Division of cultivable land into smaller items coupled with negligent soil administration is rising the speed of degradation of land. Over and above this, based on CSE, 30{c34e2c9cd63a11c97fab811dbaaefe0cfbb1edd2527888e1a44d36f3491ee811} of India’s land mass is presently present process desertification.

In 2019, Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change (IPCC) reported that “land degradation is a driver of local weather change by way of emission of greenhouse gases and lowered charges of carbon uptake”. It’s a vicious cycle because the socioeconomic results of local weather change speed up land degradation. Local weather modifications have additionally led to unpredictable climate and pure crises – be it drought, pandemic, cyclones, heavy rains, or floods. Elevated unpredictability in humidity, temperature and precipitation disrupt the normal agricultural calendar with intense bursts of utmost climate.

Elevated water use in irrigation has resulted in a continued decline in India’s per capita water availability — by 60{c34e2c9cd63a11c97fab811dbaaefe0cfbb1edd2527888e1a44d36f3491ee811} during the last 50 years, accelerating land degradation. Moreover, being one of many world’s main exporters of water intensive crops corresponding to rice and sugarcane, we find yourself exporting water (digital water) together with the agricultural exports. This depletion not solely accelerates local weather change, but in addition results in decrease productiveness over consequent development cycles.

As per estimates, local weather change adversely impacts agricultural output by about 4-9{c34e2c9cd63a11c97fab811dbaaefe0cfbb1edd2527888e1a44d36f3491ee811} every year, affecting round 1.5{c34e2c9cd63a11c97fab811dbaaefe0cfbb1edd2527888e1a44d36f3491ee811} loss in GDP yearly. India trails most nations on agricultural productiveness. As an example, the productiveness of maize, rice, groundnut, and pulses are 54{c34e2c9cd63a11c97fab811dbaaefe0cfbb1edd2527888e1a44d36f3491ee811}, 40{c34e2c9cd63a11c97fab811dbaaefe0cfbb1edd2527888e1a44d36f3491ee811}, 31{c34e2c9cd63a11c97fab811dbaaefe0cfbb1edd2527888e1a44d36f3491ee811}, and 33{c34e2c9cd63a11c97fab811dbaaefe0cfbb1edd2527888e1a44d36f3491ee811} decrease than their respective world averages. All these components have made it difficult to make sure meals safety – with solely 2.4{c34e2c9cd63a11c97fab811dbaaefe0cfbb1edd2527888e1a44d36f3491ee811} of the world’s complete land space, India has to assist round 18{c34e2c9cd63a11c97fab811dbaaefe0cfbb1edd2527888e1a44d36f3491ee811} of the world’s inhabitants. We face an uphill job within the type of mitigating the affect of local weather change on agriculture and 145 million households.

Alternative Areas: Know-how, Sustainability and Coverage Help

India must rejuvenate at the very least 30 million hectares of barren land to reverse land degradation by 2030. There may be a direct want for the agricultural sector to undertake modern technological interventions couple with sustainability and enabling coverage assist, to mitigate the affect of local weather change and enhance farm productiveness.

State-of-the-art applied sciences together with AI, IoT, machine studying, blockchain, precision agriculture, drones, sensible tractors/ agri-bots, sensible warehousing and transport optimisation, real-time yield estimation and worth info other than newer crop safety applied sciences will remodel the sector by enabling traceability, real-time visibility, increased productiveness, and superior high quality, whereas lowering the carbon footprint and rising income. Precision agriculture leverages knowledge analytics to maximise the effectivity of water, fertilizer and pesticides by way of optimum utilization, to enhance total productiveness, high quality, and yield of the crops. Drones may help farmers with soil and discipline planning, crop monitoring, crop safety from weeds, pests and ailments, alleviate labour stress and enhance productiveness. Main agricultural sciences Corporations like FMC, are embracing such applied sciences to grow to be answer suppliers quite than remaining solely an enter provider. Equally, enhancing productiveness of the milch animals and addressing the methane emissions emanating out of dairy sector can be essential.

Sustainable practices corresponding to crop rotation, blended cropping with pulses, utilizing biofertilizers, even handed use of pesticides or fertilisers, and built-in pest administration — should be inspired and promoted to handle the environmental challenges posed by agricultural actions. Conservation of pure sources will be pushed by way of – drip irrigation and enhanced solarization of agriculture. There’s a dire want for funding for improvement and distribution of climate-resilient crops that may deal with fluctuations in temperature and precipitation. There’s a have to deal with information trade and capability constructing amongst farmers and agriculture extension employees on sustainable agricultural practices. Main agricultural corporations together with FMC India are working carefully with farmer communities to drive soil, water and enter stewardship within the manufacturing course of.

Moreover, there’s a necessity to redirect authorities assist at numerous ranges to assist farmers. The federal government should promote useful resource conservation whereas producing rewarding outcomes like complete farm productiveness and never merely yields. The necessity of the hour is to exchange subsidy on electrical energy for drawing irrigation water, with the adoption of drip irrigation and set up of photo voltaic panels. Incentivising the manufacturing of water- and nutrient-efficient crops (millets & pulses) that replenish the soil and utilise much less water by asserting a profitable MSP and enter subsidies for farmers will probably be a step in the precise course. It’s essential to rethink offering subsidies for crops (sugarcane and paddy) with an hostile affect on the pure useful resource availability. Constructing and leveraging the combination capabilities of FPOs will guarantee sustainability of agriculture and farmers.

Conclusion

India was one of many first growing nations to prioritise meals safety as a coverage objective and grow to be self-sufficient within the manufacturing of meals grains within the Nineteen Seventies with the inexperienced revolution. Know-how and innovation will drive the subsequent wave of transformation in agriculture for sustainable meals manufacturing and mitigating the affect of local weather change. It’s essential to create appropriate agricultural-reforms and incentive techniques for farmers to undertake sustainable practices, promote organisations that may create affect by way of sustainable options, educate customers and farmers and reorient the agriculture sector from a subsistence-driven to demand-driven sustainable farming.

(The writer is the Director of Public and Business Affairs, FMC India. All views are private)

https://www.financialexpress.com/economic system/tackling-climate-change-for-transformation-of-agricultural-sector-in-india/2363165/

Tackling local weather change for transformation of agricultural sector in India