- GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
- GS-3: Indian Agriculture & challenges associated with it.
Decarbonising Indian agriculture
Context: In 2016, agriculture and livestock emitted 407,821 Gg of CO2e, around 14% of total emissions. Out of this, 61.3% is linked to livestock.
Apart from livestock, the major constituents of agriculture GHG emissions are
- rice cultivation (17.5%)
- fertiliser application (19.1%)
- field burning of agricultural residues (2.2%).
Why decarbonisation of Agriculture is a tricky issue in India?
- India, with 1.75 million sq km arable land and a 300 million cattle population has 160 million rural households with agriculture being the main source of livelihood.
- Hence, decarbonisation has to be carefully calibrated to avoid an adverse impact to over 120 million marginal farmers who are still in the ‘survival phase’ of their socio-economic development
What pathways can be used for decarbonising agriculture?
Deep decarbonising pathways would include
- reducing biogenic methane from cattle and rice cultivation
- inculcating resource efficiency by reducing consumption of irrigation water, chemical fertilisers, and energy as well as farm waste processing
- reducing waste in the food supply chain
- building climate resilience through deploying automation and technology.
The following factors are critical for both decarbonisation and sustainability:
|Bio-energy from farm waste||
- Sustainable agriculture pathways will require significant capital, but a large portion could come from repurposing existing subsidies.
- Climate finance and patient capital will be needed for areas having longer gestation period, viz biogenic methane mitigation, agro-forestry, etc.
- Coordinated and action-oriented implementation and appropriate institutional architecture from the Centre to states to districts or agro-zones is needed.
Connecting the dots:
- National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC),
- National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA)