Climate and Agriculture - Seeker's Thoughts

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Climate and Agriculture

The Climate has been changing and the temperature of the earth is on rise.  Climate threatens everything including agriculture.  To have the trace of climate change, the IPCC or Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change provides assessment reports.  Basically, IPCC produces an assessment on a specific issue and methodology Reports, which provide practical guidelines for the preparation of greenhouse gas inventories.


The Sixth Assessment Report AR6
The IPCC is currently in 6th Cycle and it will be finalized in first half of 2022 under the Paris agreement.
The meeting to draft the outline of the sixth assessment report took place in Addis Ababa in May 2017.
In Dec 2018, the IPCC has published report on Global Warming at 1.5 degree Celsius. In the report there was an emphasized on the need to strengthen and enhance existing coping capacity and to remain committed to the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
The report has mentioned that the world has become 1 degree Celsius warmer and due to human activities. The warmer temperature of the earth has caused extreme events and obstruction to the normal functioning of ecosystem.
Magnitude of such events has impacted on the indigenous populations, local communities, migration, livelihood and agriculture.

India and Agriculture
More than half of the population of India gets employment from agriculture. A huge population also needs food and other commodities which are produced by agriculture. Therefore, there is a greater connect between agriculture, climate change and economy. Rivers are polluted and dying, and rain is unpredictable. In such scenario agriculture needs attention.

When the heat wave increases
When the heat wave increases it impacts upon the livestock- it affects the crop, and the livestock.  Climate change has caused farmed income loss, and in un-irrigated areas it will increase 20 to 30 percent according to the economic survey of 2017 to 2018.

Is it possible to prevent such impact of climate change?
The climate change adaption plan is needed for agriculture as well. Planned strategies would help in reducing the menace however, along with small steps taken in agriculture; there should be concrete efforts for reducing the rising temperature.
So, to cope with climate change, there is a need to reshape the response at all level of decision making. There are two types of level in agriculture- Micro and Macro. Micro is for small and marginal farmers. They have to be included in safe planning as well. At micro level the traditional wisdom has been encouraged, however, the traditional knowledge is not sufficient to stand against the climate change. Climate resilient technologies have to be promoted. The attitude shift is also the need of hour. Climate exposure can be reduced through agronomics managements practices such as inter and multiple cropping and crop rotation,, shift to non-farm activities, insurance covers, Scaling greener and cleaner technologies like solar pump, drip irrigation and sprinkler etc.
The problem is that there have been several reports and the climate change has visible negatives yet the process of adapting technologies is slow. Farmers often do not understand the paper work, and they are unaware of the insurance schemes too. As a result as National Sample Survey‘s 70th round showed that the very small segment of agriculture households utilized crop insurance.

Macro Level
At macro level solutions, the climate adaptation technologies are to be adapted. However, the Economic Survey of 2017- 2018 reveals that the current developmental framework is yet to be executed or at a nascent stage. Government’s planning and implementations have nowhere started.  Multiple policy scales are required for developing possible synergy between micro-macro levels and the government needs to address several cross – cutting issues. The clarity about identifying the barriers – which hampered the implementation of the policies and adaptation of new technologies by farmers have to be identified.

What can be done?
The proactive approach which is solution based is the need of the hour.  Promotion of satellite- enabled agriculture risk management, creating micro level agro advisories, providing customized real time data, and capacity building remain the crucial areas to work.
There are various programmes which have been initiated by the government like Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Soil Health Card, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, and e-NAM etc. All these programmes should be implemented in better ways as people in the village are not much getting benefitted with these.
The exclusive schemes are available for tackling the climate like- the National Innovations on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA), the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), the National Adaptation Fund, and the State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC). However, again the implementation and awareness is the need of this hour.


References

https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/11/AR6_brochure_en.pdf

https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sixth-assessment-report-cycle/

https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/farming-in-a-warming-world/article25746161.ece