Climate Change: The real enemy of farmers

Currently, the farmers’ movement in the country is gaining media attention. The MSP and the word motto are retained in every report related to farmers. But climate change is a word pair that should be used more and more in the context of farmers and farmers. This is because climate change is the biggest enemy of Indian farmers. But the problem is that neither the farmers are able to see this enemy nor the media is showing them.

Currently, the latest news is that Indian farmers are already vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Rising average annual temperatures have led to a decline in crop yields / yields and increased area of ​​crop damage due to unseasonal rains and heavy floods. All this information comes from a report released by Climate Trends today. This briefing report describes how climate change is affecting India’s agriculture.

The briefing stated that climate change is definitely the biggest threat to India’s agriculture in the future. There is increasing evidence that these changes will reduce land productivity and increase yield variability as well as yield of all Indian major cereal crops. Among the major crops produced, wheat and rice are the weakest. Rising temperatures are the biggest risk to Indian agriculture. In the worst case, India can become an importer of food to feed its population.

This report also highlights that climate-induced crop failures are leading to declining incomes and that future, annual agricultural income losses are estimated between 15% –18%, compared to 20% –25 for unirrigated areas. % is. Declining incomes have a huge impact on the livelihood of farmers, already leading to increased indebtedness, unemployment, mitigation, hunger and suicides among farmers.

Covid-19 exposed India’s agricultural weaknesses as the crisis of one hurt farms of all sizes. But there is an opportunity to propel the sector towards “nature-based recovery”. Climate-smart agriculture can increase yields and income and reduce emissions. Investing in nature can highlight great economic benefits and business opportunities. Structural reforms, such as crop insurance and loans, can boost access to capital and yields. Increasing local and small supply chains can increase flexibility and connect farmers to markets, which remained one of the major problems during the lockdown.

It also describes how these changes will meet the socio-economic challenges faced by farmers.

Some highlights of the report:

  • There is increasing evidence that changes in average maximum temperature, average minimum temperature, fluctuations and excessive rainfall have led to a decrease in land productivity and a decrease in the yield of most crops, as well as an increase in yield variability. .
  • With changes in estimates – productivity of wheat, rice, maize, sorghum, mustard, soybean and other non-edible cereal crops is likely to decrease.
  • Climate-induced crop failures are declining incomes and future annual agricultural income losses are estimated between 15% –18%, compared to 20% –25% for irrigated areas. Agricultural workers represent 55% or 263 million of the total workforce in India.

According to the Government of India, the models suggest that by the end of the 21st century the average temperature can rise to 4.4 ° C, causing heatwaves to increase (3-4 times) and droughts (up to 150% by 2100). On average, extreme and inter-annual variability of rainfall will increase, and it is anticipated that the monsoon season will be more intense and affect larger areas. The sea level is expected to rise 20–30 cm by 2100, especially in the north Indian Ocean. All these changes will affect important agricultural areas, especially coastal South India, central Maharashtra, the Indo-Genetic Plains and the Western Ghats.An average of nine million workers migrated between 2011-2016 due to the agrarian crisis. Farmers are also protesting for better conditions; Protests have increased eight-fold between 2014–16.

Climate change has been partly attributed to private insurers being excluded from crop insurance schemes. This decreasing productivity increases costs and makes it harder for farmers to repay their loans, especially without access to insurance. As a result, according to the Census of India, the average death rate in rural areas (7.1% average crude death rate between 2014-16) is higher than the average death rate in urban areas (5.1% between 2014-16), and although Suicides are only a small part of it, they are a cause for great concern.

A recent study found that warming accounted for more than 4,000 additional deaths annually across India, accounting for ∼3% of annual suicides. Since 1980, warming and subsequent crop damage can be attributed to 59,300 farmer suicides.

As farmers will have more production deficit, government expenditure will increase. It is estimated that the impact of climate change on agriculture will cause a 1.5% loss in India’s gross domestic product (GDP), while the RBI predicts that around 3% of GDP will be spent on countering them.

International acceptance is growing that the Covid-19 world needs to incorporate more nature-based recovery, particularly for agriculture and agro-forestry sectors. A recent report by the Food and Land Use Coalition found that the way we farm and produce food could release USD 4.5 trillion a year in new business opportunities globally by 2030. The New Economic Economy (World Economic Forum) report of the World Economic Forum found that by 2030, investment in the food, land and ocean sectors could create 191 million new jobs globally.