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Climate-resilient agriculture

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation

 

Source: DTE

 Context: As climate change can reduce agricultural income by 15-25%, it is high time that climate-resilient agriculture (CRA) is valued and implemented more rigorously.

 

CRA:

  • Resilience is the capacity of a system to dynamically respond to, recover from and even thrive in changing climate conditions while maintaining essential functions, identities and structures.
  • Hence, CRA is an approach of sustainably using existing natural resources to achieve long-term higher productivity and farm incomes under climate variabilities.

 

Need:

  • Extreme weather events → reducing farm produce, food price fluctuations → endangering food security and farm incomes.
  • Hence, to address climate change and achieve SDGs, adaptation of appropriate mitigation technologies is required.

 

Outcomes of CRA:

  • Improved access and utilisation of technology,
  • Increased use of resources conservation technologies,
  • An increased adaptation of crops and livestock to climatic stress,
  • Reduces hunger and poverty (by sustaining agricultural production).

 

Strategies and technologies for climate change adaptation:

  • Tolerant crops: For example, early maturing and drought-tolerant green gram (BM 2002-1) was introduced by farmers in Aurangabad (MH).
  • Tolerant breeds in livestock and poultry: Indigenous breeds are resistant to droughts, ability to ingest and digest low-quality feed, and resistance to diseases.
  • Feed management: An adaptation measure, which can indirectly improve the efficiency of livestock production.
  • Water management/Water-smart technologies: Like micro-irrigation, cover-crop method, deficit irrigation, precision estimation of crop water needs, etc.
  • Agro-advisory: Response farming (farming with advisories) is an integrative approach already been taken in states like Tamil Nadu.
  • Soil organic carbon: Different farm management practices –
    • Conservation agriculture technologies (reduced tillage, crop rotations, and cover crops),
    • Soil conservation practices (contour farming) and
    • Nutrient recharge strategies – can increase soil carbon stocks and stimulate soil functional stability.

 

Govt efforts:

Government Efforts Description
National Mission of Sustainable Agriculture Implemented in 2010 to promote the judicious management of available resources.
Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) Launched in 2015 to promote micro/drip irrigation for water conservation.
Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana Executed to leverage climate-smart practices and technologies.
Green India Mission Launched in 2014 to protect and restore forest covers, mitigating the effects of climate change.
Soil Health Card scheme Launched to analyze soil samples and provide guidance to farmers regarding land fertility status.
Neem-Coated Urea Introduced to minimize excess use of urea fertilizers and protect soil health.
National Project on Organic Farming and National Agroforestry Policy Introduced to promote organic farming practices and agroforestry for income and ecosystem benefits.
Organic farming initiatives in Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim States adopting and promoting organic farming practices.
ICAR climate-resilient villages Establishment of climate-resilient villages in 151 districts, aiming to build carbon-positive villages.
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) Initiated in 2005 to provide employment opportunities, economic security, and environmental protection.

 

Way ahead:

  • Interventions focusing on improving crop productivity (watershed development, enhancing irrigation) + water management, soil health and livelihood diversification.
  • There is a need to prioritise adaptive capacities alongside agricultural productivity.
  • Reduction of GHG emissions from all agriculture and non-agricultural sources has to be prioritised.
  • Structured training is essential to build confidence in stakeholders and sensitise them to understand climate change events.
  • Fine-tuning the gap between current management practices and essential agro-advisories.
  • Collaboration between farmers, research institutions, funding agencies, governments, NGOs and private sectors to promote CRA.

 

Insta Links:

Climate-smart agriculture

  

Mains Links:

Elaborate on the impact of the National Watershed Project in increasing agricultural production from water-stressed areas. (UPSC 2019)