Climate Change Adaptation to Agriculture
Agriculture is severely affected by climate change on one hand and it is a significant contributor to green house gases on the other. Climate change will have a major impact on biophysical aspects of agriculture resulting changes in quantity and quality of land, soil and water resources, increased pest and weed challenges, sea level rise changing the ocean salinity and rise in temperature leading to variable inhabitation of livestock and fish. It also affects the socio-economic aspects causing changes in yields and production, reduced GDP from agriculture in the long term, greater fluctuations in market prices, and increased number of people at risk of food insecurity and changes in distribution of geographical distribution of trade ...view middle of the document...
The impacts of climate change on agriculture will therefore be rigorously felt in India. It has been projected that under a situation of rise of a 2.50C to 4.90C temperature rise in India, rice yields will drop by 32-40% and wheat yields by 41-52% causing the GDP to fall by 1.8-3.4% (Guiteras 2007). Despite the dismal forecast about the ill-effects of climate change for India’s agricultural sector, certain opportunities too are expected in form of production gains through carbon-dioxide fertilization effect (i.e. increased plant productivity due to photosynthesis as a result of higher concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere). Cultivated land is expected to expand to higher altitudes and northern latitudes (IFPRI 2009).
Adaptation to climate change in agriculture aims to minimize people’s vulnerability by improving their ability to cope with the impacts of climate change. In other words, their adaptive capacity is to be improved. Adaptive capacity is the ability of a system to adjust to climate change, to moderate potential damages, to take advantage of opportunities, or to cope with the consequences (IPCC 2007). This capacity is often limited, particularly in poor rural areas in developing countries where people live on subsistence agriculture with little formal education. Here, people are to be made aware of climate change related information and given access to social, economic, institutional and technical resources. The interventions may be resulting in autonomous or planned adaptations to combat climate change in these scenarios. A pre-requisite for this is understanding of climate change at the level of farmer and also, in a broader context. However, it has to be complemented with supportive policies, a range of agricultural extension services, intensive agricultural research and innovative risk management tools.