Developing where dryland, non-irrigated agriculture dominates. Agricultural productivity

Developing countries will be more affected by climatic change because they depend more on climate-sensitive sectors like agriculture, forestry or fishing. Under an enhanced green house condition, the variability of Monsoon is projected to increase resulting in recurring droughts or floods, which will affect agricultural production and increase the vulnerability of the large agrarian population, climatic change is likely to affect the country’s national resource base, with major implication for agriculture and forestry sectors and huge impacts in coastal regions. Agriculture and its allied activities constitute a significant proportion of the energy, contributing to nearly 19% of the total gross domestic product (GDP). The tremendous importance of agriculture to the Indian economy can be gauged by the fact that more than 60% of the work force is dependent on this sector. Besides, the share of agriculture products in export earning is also substantial.

Agriculture thereby has a direct impact on poverty and is an important factor in employment generation, global warming is predicted to affect agricultural production. In the tropics and sub-tropics with prevailing high temperature, crops are already growing at a particular threshold where dryland, non-irrigated agriculture dominates. Agricultural productivity is sensitive to two broad classes of climate induced effects—direct effects from change in temperature, precipitation, radiation or carbon dioxide concentrations, and indirect effects through changes in soils and the distribution and frequency of infestation by pests and disease.

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However, much depends not only on the physiological response of the affected plant, but also on the ability of the affected socio-economic systems of production to cope with changes in yields and in the frequency of droughts or floods. The adaptability of farmers in India is severely restricted by heavy reliance on natural factors and lack of complimentary inputs and institutional support systems.

Need for Sustainable Agriculture:

For a country like India, sustainable agricultural development is essential not only to meet the food demands, but also for poverty reduction through economic growth by creating employment opportunities in non-agricultural rural sectors. There is a pressing need to strengthen the capacity of communities to cope effectively with both climatic variability and change. In this sense, easy access to agricultural credits, insurance coverage, and expanding area under irrigation is very important. Role of science and technology cannot be ignored. This includes the need for appropriate technologies including setting up of an early warning system to prevent loss.

Biotechnology could also contribute. Therefore, despite the complexities that climatic change poses to the agricultural sector in India, there is a lot of opportunities in leveraging the right kind of technologies and policies that reduce the losses and contribute in improving the livelihoods of millions.


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