Need for Climate-Smart Agriculture in India

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    Syllabus: GS3/ Agriculture

    In Context

    • Climate-smart agriculture has the potential to assure food security, empower farmers, and protect our delicate ecosystems.

    Climate change and food insecurity

    • About:
      • The two most important issues facing humanity in the 21st century are climate change and food insecurity. 
    • Challenge of climate change:
      • Some of the ongoing effects of climate change, such as heat waves, flash floods, droughts, and cyclones, are negatively influencing lives and livelihoods. 
      • The world’s southern continents are reportedly experiencing severe drought due to climate change, which negatively impacts agricultural production and farmers’ livelihoods. 
    • Threats of Climate change for agriculture:
      • As a result of climate change, traditional farming practices are becoming less productive.
        • Farmers are taking a variety of adaptation measures to reduce the negative effects of climate change. 
      • The future impacts of climate change on agricultural productivity could be substantial.
        • In India, crop yield decline owing to climate change (between 2010 and 2039) could be as high as 9%. 
    • Concerns of food insecurity:
      • Both population expansion and dietary changes are contributing to an increase in the demand for food. 
      • The need for a holistic strategy is driven by climate change’s dual challenges of adaptation and mitigation, and the pressing need for agricultural production to rise by 60% by 2050 in order to fulfil food demand.

    Climate-smart agriculture (CSA)

    • What is Climate-smart agriculture?
      • Climate-smart agriculture is an approach for transforming food and agriculture systems to support sustainable development and safeguard food security under climate change. 
      • CSA comprises three pillars or objectives:
        • sustainably increase agricultural productivity and incomes; 
        • adapt and build resilience to climate change; and 
        • reduce/remove GHG (greenhouse gases) emissions, where possible.
    • Dimensions of climate-smart practices include:
      • Water-smart, weather-smart, energy-smart, and carbon-smart practices. 
      • They improve productivity, deal with land degradation, and improve soil health.
    • How?
      • Improvements in agroforestry, sustainable water management, and precision agriculture are all concrete examples of CSA ideas in action, and they are not limited by any one country. 
      • CSA promotes crop diversification, increases water efficiency, and integrates drought-resistant crop types, all of which help lessen the disruptive effects of climate change. 
      • There has been a worldwide uptick in community-supported agriculture efforts.
        • These efforts are made in an attempt to create agricultural systems that are both resilient and environmentally friendly. 
    • CSA in India:
      • The National Action Plan on Climate Change emphasises the role of climate-resilient agriculture in India’s adaptation measures
      • Government initiatives in India focusing on CSA: The National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change, National Innovation on Climate Resilient Agriculture, Soil Health Mission, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, Biotech-KISAN, and Climate Smart Village are a few examples of government initiatives in India focusing on CSA. 
      • Public and private sector initiatives: Various public and private sector entities such as farmer-producer organisations and NGOs are also working towards the adoption of CSA.

    Significance of CSA:

    • Enhanced output with ecological stability:
      • The importance of CSA lies in its ability to increase agricultural output while maintaining ecological stability. 
      • This correlation is not only a desired consequence but rather essential for long-term food security and sustainable resource usage in a warming planet.
    • Increased resilience:
      • By reducing exposure to climate-related dangers and shocks, CSA increases resilience in the face of longer-term stressors like shorter seasons and erratic weather patterns. 
    • Economic stability:
      • In addition to these benefits, a significant outcome of CSA implementation is the increasing economic autonomy of farmers. 
      • CSA causes a dramatic change in farming communities’ economic and social structure by distributing information about and providing access to climate-resilient methods. 
    • Uplifting disadvantaged farmers:
      • As the climate changes, farmers, significantly those already disadvantaged, can gain enormously from adopting climate-smart techniques. 
      • The majority of Indian farmers are small or marginal. Therefore, CSA can play a significant role in helping them increase their profits. 
    • Reduced GHG emissions:
      • The agricultural sector also produces a large amount of GHGs. The sector’s share in GHG’s emissions in 2018 was 17%. 
      • Therefore, CSA implementation is crucial for lowering GHG emissions and protecting biodiversity.
      • Furthermore, it aids in enhancing farmland carbon storage. 

    Way ahead

    • The most challenging aspect of dealing with global warming is to create localised responses.
      • Therefore, investing in capacity-building programmes and providing practical CSA tools and knowledge is essential.
    • Agroforestry and carbon sequestration are two examples of CSA measures that could help India meet its international obligations and contribute to the global fight against climate change. 
    • The intersection of climate vulnerability and agricultural importance places India at a unique juncture where CSA adoption is not merely desirable but essential
    Daily Mains Question
    [Q] Adoption of Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) in India is not merely desirable but essential. Analyse.