Climate change and Agriculture

13 Jun 2021

Curtain Hug

-Rhea James

Climate Change is a serious cause of concern as it affects our lives in every possible aspect. It majorly affects our surroundings, and it starts to affect the living beings around us as this environment is the space where we live. A cause of climate change is the effect of Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) that hinder the natural process of the environment.

India stands on the 3rd number after China and the USA as the largest emitters of Greenhouse Gas Emissions globally. Greenhouse gas emissions are done in the agricultural sector as well during the Production stage due to fertilisers, pesticides and other chemicals. So, the agricultural industry is a contributor as well as the receiver of the effect of the GHG. Climate change is severely threatening agricultural growth as there are frequent dry spells, heat waves and unpredictable rainfall. The agricultural sector exports 13-18% of the country’s total exports, and as climate change has an impact on agriculture, it will affect our exports as well. Our agricultural system is still 62% dependent on rainfall, indicating that a slight climate change will have a lasting impact on society. Climate change will have an economic impact as well on agriculture as due to climate change, there will be a change in the supply, demand, profitability, prices and trade. The severe impact of climate change can even lead us to food shortage in the country. Crop yield is dependent on several factors like seeds, soil, fertilisers, pest and diseases. With increasing population, human-led climate change, and environmental problems, they provide a limiting force against crop enhancement and development, leading to food security problems in the country. There will be an impact of climate change on the soil. The change will be in the organic matter supply, temperature regimes, hydrology and changes in the potential evapotranspiration. The organic matter and carbon(C: N ratio) will diminish in a warmer soil temperature regime. Drier soil conditions will suppress root growth and decomposition of organic matter. With the growing population and increasing food demand, the agricultural sector has to find solutions to reducing the GHG emissions, which can be done by the efficient use of fertilisers, adoption of zero-tillage and management of water used to irrigate paddy. Programs like Zero Budget Natural Farming introduced in Andhra Pradesh are low input, climate-resilient type which use low-cost locally produced inputs.

We might not be from the agricultural sector, but its impact will fall upon us as well. It’s a matter of concern for all of us as somewhere or the other side, we all are the contributor and receiver of the impact of Climate Change.