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    Climate Smart Agriculture for mitigating Climate Change

    At a global scale, both intensification and extensification of agriculture is responsible for a negative impact on environment by high level of greenhouse gas emission, promoting climate change through depletion of natural resources. According to FAO 2011 report,the world’s population is going to reach 9 billion by 2050.Total food production will have to increase by approximately 70% to feed this growing population. About 870 million people are already estimated to be undernourished. Climate change is an added hurdle on the way to this goal, it causes rise in temperature and changes in rainfall pattern, pest and diseases find new ranges and more weather extremes lead to reduced global food production. According to 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21 Paris agreement has recognized the fundamental priority of safeguarding food security and ending hunger, particularly concentrating on vulnerabilities of food production systems to the adverse impacts of climate change.

    Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) has the potential to increase sustainable productivity based on scale such as at local level,it increases productivity by using improved management techniques such as targeted use of fertilizers and increasing the resilience of farming systems to climate impacts consistent with CSA in smallholder systems which is applicable to all regions and climates of the tropics and subtropics. It is recommended that the following practices can be applied based on the topographical conditions such as rice management for humid conditions, grassland restoration and drip irrigation for dry land, terraces practices and contour planting forslopes. One of the most popular success story of CSA is from Sahel (West Africa), over 5 million hectare of degraded land in the Sahel have been restored through a practice known as ‘farmer-managed natural regeneration’ thus increasing the food security of millions of people and enhancing their resilience in the face of climate change.

    CSA, however, is not a generic agricultural technology or practice that can be universally applied, but it is location specific and knowledge intensive approach which requires site-specific assessments to identify suitable agricultural technologies and practices. However, the good news is that, climate analogues (finding future climate for potential adaptation) already exist and it is estimated that 70% of expected future climatic conditions already exist somewhere location on the earth. It is essential to identify those analogues and adopt them for environmental sustainability.

    For sustainable CSA, it is essential to converges other sectors like energy and water that are essential for capitalizing on potential synergies with agriculture, livestock, forestry and fisheries. CSA also help in enhancing over all prosperity by developing villages in to “Climate Smart Villages” that are Weather Smart, Water Smart, Carbon Smart, Nitrogen Smart, Energy Smart and Knowledge Smart. The CSA provides appropriate climate change solutions through government – private sector intervention in policies and financial investments. Agromet Advisory Services is an example of such alignment which at present is accessible to over 2.5 million farmers in India and Weather Based Crop Insurance adopted more than 9 million farmers. These interventions will help in breaking barriers for adoption, especially among farmers. This is just the beginning and more number of interventions shall be staged in the near future.

    Climate smart agriculture is not a new agricultural system or a set of practices, but is a new approach, a way to guide the needed changes of agricultural systems, given the necessity to jointly address food security and climate change.


    Poonam Thakur
    Poonam works as an Associate Consultant with Life Science Advisory Group at Sathguru and focuses on project involving innovative technology transfer and commercialization. Her expertise lies in the field of market research & trend analysis of agriculture industry, good knowledge of IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) especially patent search and analysis, landscape mapping and FTO search. She hold a Post Graduate Diploma in Agricultural Management from National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM) and has also been selected as Women Scientist in IPR by TIFAC.

    View all posts by Poonam Thakur

    Discussion — No responses

    • Joe Britto January 5, 2016 on 4:53 pm

      While it is wonderful to popularize CSA , it’s equally important to see wheter these ideas can be put into practice.
      The need of the hour is to quickly implement the happenings and success stories in our numerous Agricultural Labs to the Lands of our Farmers . The most worrying factor for our Farmers is the lack of enthusiasm among-st their sons that will render the Lands almost ruder-less. Farmers are in fact today desperate as they are unable to get adequate pricing for their crops despite a good harvest .The high cost of inputs like Chemicals, Fertilizers, Seeds & Labour and low price for their final produce are forcing farmers to sell their land or send their young sons to Cities and Towns in search of new pastures .
      If importance is not given to farming then we will surely see a decline in outputs in the years ahead and we will need to import the shortfall. This is the case already in Pulses & other Food commodities. If the farmers grievances are not addressed to in a proper manner we may indeed see the begging bowls of 1960’s back and witness acute food crisis like never before.
      In India Family Farms need to be given priority
      India’s growing population and increasing preference for healthy food means ever-rising demand for protein foods like pulses, more so for the vegetarian population.
      However, pulses production has been stagnant for over four decades now. As a result, per capita availability of pulses has declined from 61 gram/day in 1951 to roughly 42 gram/day lately.
      Yet, government policies are cereal-obsessed. Minimum support pricing and government procurement programs are over-incentivising cultivation of rice and wheat at the cost of food crops like pulses even if their demand is growing at a faster rate.
      The land use for Agriculture is undergoing a drastic reduction and use of land for non agriculture purpose is on the increase. The service and industry sector is getting priority.
      The average land holding in India was about 2 Hectares in 1976 -77, 1.8 hectares in 1980-81 and presently it is just between 0.1 to 0.2 Ha. Every year about 2 million landless labour is being added to the Indian population.
      The share of Agriculture in the national income has declined from 50 % to 22 %.
      Development in Indian Agriculture therefore cannot be done by collective means or by joint stock farming and the focus will be mainly the individual farmer who alone can achieve the seemingly impossible task. Hence we can see the only way out is to increase the yield and productivity and to an extent be done by increasing the area under irrigation and water efficiency. Watershed programmes, precision farming, sustainable farming, organic farming, holistic approach etc, etc are only some of the options which can be but adopted in a very limited way. The long term Agriculture plan should involve Women empowerment, child nutrition and home nutrition. Emphasis should be on all around investment in developing infrastructure like railheads, roads, power, warehouses,
      processing, grading, packing and post harvest technology.
      Family farming is one of the most predominant forms of agriculture worldwide, in both developing and developed countries. The sector comprises a wide spectrum of farm sizes and types, ranging from very large land holdings in highincome economies that are easily cultivated by one or two family members with the use of labour-saving machinery and hired labour, to the small holdings of a few hectares or less in low-income economies, often oriented towards subsistence with low marketable surplus.
      These small family farms, run by small producers, are, by far, the most numerous: globally, there are approximately 500 million small family farms (280 million of which are in China and India alone) (IFPRI, 2007). Thus, although family farmers and small producers are not identical groups, they share a large common space and hence face a series of similar issues.
      “The average rural family today is eating nearly 100 grams less of food grains than six or seven years ago and the average per capita availability of food grains has declined sharply. In 1991, when reforms began, availability of food per person was 510 grams, recently it has fallen to 437 grams,”Taking care of Family Farms is therefore of utmost importance .All the issues including Climate Smart Agriculture are required to be implemented where required.

    • Dr. N. Subash January 12, 2016 on 10:30 am

      Yes, this is true that Climate smart agriculture is not a new agricultural system or a set of practices, but by the way to identify the best location specific practices which will address the climate change aspects.

    • Dr K Srinivas Reddy March 22, 2016 on 9:34 am

      It is indeed well written about CSA and understood. These principles can be presently applied in irrigated agriculture where farmers are well understood by the best practices in agriculture and water is not a limitation. But , In the rainfed agro eco system where water is a constraint due to climate extremes which are regular in any production system and have very low contribution to the GG emissions. Rainwater harvesting technology is only the answer for rainfed areas for improving the productivity in pulses, oil seeds and coarse cereals which are nutrition efficient for the poor people in India and Africa. To make rainfed as CSA, we need to work on a comprehensive and efficient mission mode RWHS in rainfed agriculture for improving overall productivity and profitability and make them climate resilient systems.