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Climate Change

80 Per Cent Of Marginal Farmers In India Affected By Adverse Climatic Events: Report

Sanjeev Chopra, Chairperson of FEED emphasised on the need to promote climate-resilient agricultural practices, diversify livelihoods, and improve access to financial services and technical advice

80% Of Marginal Farmers In India Affected By Adverse Climatic Events: Report
According to a report, nearly 43 per cent of the surveyed farmers lost at least half of their standing crops

New Delhi: A staggering 80 per cent of marginal farmers in India have suffered crop losses due to adverse climatic events over the past five years, according to a report released on Tuesday (June 25). The survey, conducted by the Forum of Enterprises for Equitable Development (FEED) in collaboration with the Development Intelligence Unit (DIU), included 6,615 farmers across 21 states.

Also Read: Delhi Disaster Management Authority Issues Dos And Don’ts For Heatwave

The findings reveal that the primary causes of crop damage were drought (41 per cent), irregular rainfall including excessive or non-seasonal rains (32 per cent), and early withdrawal or late arrival of the monsoons (24 per cent).

According to the report, nearly 43 per cent of the surveyed farmers lost at least half of their standing crops.

Rice, vegetables, and pulses were particularly affected by uneven rainfall. In the northern states, paddy fields often remain submerged for more than a week, destroying newly planted seedlings.

Conversely, scant rainfall has delayed the planting of various crops such as rice, corn, cotton, soybeans, groundnuts, and pulses in states like Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, and West Bengal.

The report, however, doesn’t capture the impact of temperature variability.

In 2022, an early onslaught of heat waves impacted wheat crop in India with the production declining to 107.7 million tonnes from 109.59 million tonnes in 2021. This prompted the country, the world’s second-largest wheat producer, to ban exports.

The heat impacted wheat output again in 2023, with the official target down by almost 3 million tonnes.

The Climate Transparency Report of 2021 said that rice production could decline by 10 to 30 per cent, and maize production could dip by 25 to 70 per cent with temperature increases in the range of 1 to 4 degrees Celsius.

Marginal farmers, those with less than one hectare of land, constitute the largest segment of India’s agricultural sector, representing 68.5 per cent of all farmers but owning only about 24 per cent of the crop area. Sanjeev Chopra, Chairperson of FEED said,

Climate change is no longer a threat somewhere on the horizon. It is here and now. The unprecedented summer heat in the NCR and across India this year is a clear indication of this crisis. Developing an adaptation strategy is not optional but essential. We need to promote climate-resilient agricultural practices, diversify livelihoods, and improve access to financial services and technical advice.

Also Read: India’s ‘Heat Trap’ Cities Make Summers Worse, Says Government Official

The report highlighted significant gaps in support systems for marginal farmers.

Although 83 per cent of them are covered under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme, only 35 per cent have access to crop insurance, and a mere 25 per cent receive timely financial credit.

The survey also found that two-thirds of the marginal farmers affected by extreme weather events have adopted climate-resilient agricultural practices, including changes in sowing time and methods, crop duration, and water and disease management strategies.

However, 76 per cent of those who adopted these practices faced challenges such as lack of credit facilities, physical resources, limited knowledge, small land holdings, and high up-front costs.

While 21 per cent of the marginal farmers have cold storage within 10 km of their village, only 15 per cent have used these facilities.

Although 48 per cent have a custom hiring centre within 10 km of their village, only 22 per cent have hired equipment from these centres.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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