NICRA will soon enter its second phase and was launched in 2011. At the same time, the relationship of climate change (CC) and agriculture is quite unique in India and it needs special attention. The question joins these three important topics together.
Directive word is Highlight- The question wants us to mention the challenges of CC on agriculture, steps taken by GoI specially NICRA, objectives of NICRA and then discuss the issues affecting the performance of NICRA.
Give a brief description of agriculture in India and its importance. Then in the first part of the answer, discuss the impacts of CC on agriculture. You won’t be having any problem here.
In the next part, discuss various steps taken by the govt to tackle CC in agriculture. Remember that question asks you to highlight India’s efforts to counter it with a special focus on NICRA.
Therefore, don’t focus all your attention on NICRA alone. Briefly mention what are the other steps that the government has taken like NMSA, Soil Health Card, PMFBY, are some of the other steps that you can mention. Now discuss NICRA. Keep it plain and simple. Discuss in points the objectives of NICRA. You can simply copy them from NICRA’s website (http://nicra-icar.in/nicrarevised/index.php/key-features )and modify them in an easier language so that you can remember them. Then Discuss the issues affecting NICRA.
In conclusion, mention how schemes like NICRA are the need of the hour and how this program could act as a pilot program in India’s fight against climate change, etc.
Agriculture is the backbone of the economic system of India. In addition to food and raw materials, agriculture also provides employment opportunities to a large population. Climate change directly affects agricultural production as this sector is inherently sensitive to climatic conditions and is one of the most vulnerable sectors at the risk and impact of global climate change
The impact of climate change on agriculture will be:
The impact of climate change is already visible and in the medium term.
The farmers are suffering because of erratic monsoons, unseasonal showers, volatile prices, which sometimes dip below support prices.
At times, agriculture faces a problem of plenty while at other times, there is much less harvest.
Increased temperature leads to loss of moisture from the soil and soil organic matter which will affect soil fertility and decrease yields.
Lower yields because of high temperatures and low rainfall due to climate change will add to farmers’ distress.
There will be an increased risk of pests and diseases due to change in the pattern of host and pathogen interaction.
For every two-degree rise in temperature, the agriculture GDP of India will reduce by five percent.
Agriculture income may fall by 25% because climate change will hit the crop yields.
Poor agricultural performance can lead to inflation, farmer distress and unrest, and larger political and social disaffection, all of which can hold back the economy.
It will force farmers to either adapt to challenges of climate change or face the risk of getting poorer.
It could turn India into a major importer of oilseeds, pulses, and even milk.
Though there is a possibility of decrease in yields of certain crops in traditional sown areas due to climate change, it may increase elsewhere due to change in weather pattern.
Climate change may also help improve yields of soybean, chickpea, groundnut, coconut, and potato.
Steps taken by the government so far:
National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) to make agriculture productive, sustainable and remunerative and climate-resilient.
It also developed the capacity of farmers and stakeholders in the domain of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.
Soil health card scheme in 2015 which will carry crop-wise recommendations of nutrients and fertilizers required for the individual farms to help farmers to improve productivity through judicious use of inputs.
Climate Change Knowledge Network in Indian Agriculture to establish ICT-enabled approaches for knowledge exchange on climate change adaptation in Indian agriculture.
The eArik project was initiated in North East to disseminate climate-smart agricultural practices.
Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana is in the direction of government saving farmers from the wrath of frequently changing climate patterns.
Apart from all this, the government of India started National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) to make the farmers self-reliant by the use of climate-resilient agricultural technologies. Key aspects of NICRA are:
Critical assessment of different crops/zones in the country for vulnerability to climate.
Installation of the state-of-the-art equipment for measurement and impact understanding of GHGs on agriculture.
Strategic research, technology demonstrations and capacity building are the objectives.
Enhance the resilience of Indian agriculture to climatic variability and climate change.
Development and application of improved production and risk management technologies.
Area-specific technology packages on farmers’ fields for adapting to current climate risks.
Enhance the capacity of scientists and other stakeholders in climate-resilient agricultural research
Challenges for NICRA
The scenario of 2020 or later is not taken into account to select the districts for NICRA.
Shortage of staffs and infrastructure in Krishi Vikas Kendras (KVKs)
Farmers tend to become dependent on KVKs for inputs, knowledge, machinery
Allocation of funds.
Not enough strong institutions.
There is no linkage of NICRA with several agricultural and rural programs of the government.
India being a hotspot for climate change and having 15 broad agro-climatic zones and 127 sub-zones, the presentation of climate change and its effects will vary from region to region. Hence a ‘one size fits all’ approach will be detrimental to the agriculture and food security of the country. Schemes like NICRA can have a positive effect on many of the sustainable development goals as it provides solutions to twin challenges: adaptation to climate variations and sustainability of the resource base with increase in productivity, to meet future food security demands.