top of page
  • Team ThinkAg

Climate Change Impact

Updated: Dec 2, 2022

As per the latest United Nation Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Emission Gap report 2022, the data on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) indicates that we may see a rise in global temperatures by 2.6 degrees Celsius by the year 2100. The GHG emission stood at 58 GtCO2e in 2019 and remains almost same in 2020 as well. Globally, China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Russian Federation and the United States of America are the top seven emitters. They contribute to approximately 55 per cent of total global emissions. India produces approximately 6.5 per cent of global greenhouse gases out of which agriculture releases almost 11 per cent of carbon into the environment.

The increasing GHG emissions and rising global temperatures have become a serious concern not only for India but also for all the leading economies across the world. Further, governments, policymakers, business, investors and leaders across the globe are working towards mitigation of adverse climate change impacts. As per the UNEP’s Emission Gap report, the emission gap of 15 GtCO2e annually needs to be achieved to keep the global temperature rise within 2 degrees Celsius by 2030. However, with every passing year, there is a stronger need for each country to revisit and strengthen its target through concrete strategies on climate conservation, including urgent action to reduce GHGs, build resilience and invest in new technologies.

Agriculture and climate change

Agriculture and food systems are highly vulnerable to changing environmental conditions. The last decade witnessed crop failures across multiple geographies. Rising global temperatures have not only changed the micro-climate of various agro ecological zones but also increased vulnerability of crops due to factors such as erratic rainfall, long dry spells, reduced water table, increased pest and disease incidences.

The GHG emission commences at the crop production stage and continues during processing, transportation, distribution and waste disposal activities. One third of all the human-produced GHG emission is linked to food, agriculture and land use. Some of the key contributing areas of GHG emission in agriculture sector include emission of methane from cattle’s digestive process, CO2 emission from deforestation, nitrous oxide from fertiliser application and other emissions from crop burning, manure management, rice cultivation and other activities.

India’s farm sector accounts for almost 14 per cent of carbon emissions with the largest emission coming from livestock and dairy. Livestock generate around 78 per cent of India’s total agricultural methane emissions. Rice cultivation emits 17.5 per cent and nitrous oxide emitted from the application of nitrogenous inputs in the soil is around 19 per cent. The states of West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, and Bihar are the largest agricultural GHG emitters mainly coming from livestock and paddy farming.

Hunger and Food Security

With the world’s population expected to reach 9.7 billion in 2030, the already burdened agricultural systems will be further stressed to meet the growing demand for food. As per a recent world bank report, with 600 million people or 8.6 per cent of the global population already facing food crisis, additional 60 million in the next five years would suffer from hunger and food crisis.

Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA)

Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) is an active approach to solve the problems arising from unsustainable farming practices and the resultant food security issues. CSA accounts for the climatic variations that will impact the farming system across the agricultural value-chains and systematically mitigating them through the use of technology, training, adequate infrastructure and research, better farming methods such as improved water and land management, better resource management, on field productivity of agricultural crops. As a result, the farmers and farming community can grow resilient crops, reduce on field emissions, get increased productivity, spend less on diseases and pest management and optimise labour to save costs.

Today Ag-tech start-ups are leveraging emerging technologies and have started to play an increasingly important role in developing innovative and viable business model around CSA. These solutions can further be categorised as follows –

a) Precision Agriculture: Smart Irrigation, Smart fertigation

b) Biologicals: Algae/bacteria/protein/amino acid based products, insecticides etc.

c) Mechanisation: Drones, Robotics etc.

d) Carbon Credit Generation: Quantification of carbon sequestration through regenerative agricultural practices

e) Waste Management: Utilising waste to create value

f) Predictive and monitoring: Use of satellite imagery for crop monitoring and predictive analytics

g) Deep tech: AI/ML/ IoT based business models

These models use digital or physical technologies to create value in the agricultural practices. Further, the impact of these technologies are distinguishable, measurable and verifiable by stakeholders thereby building trust with the users.

While adoption of almost all of these categories of emerging agri technologies at the farmer level requires upfront investment and behavioural change in the farmers which requires further training, the carbon credit as a category is different. Carbon credits are easily generated through minor changes in the package of practice for growing the crops by the farmers and are also tradable in the global markets generating additional revenue for the farmers. Carbon credit generation from agricultural systems holds a lot of potential. However, it is still at a nascent stage in India.

- Ajay Kakra, Managing Partner, JU Agri Innovation Venture ( JU Agri Sciences Pvt Ltd), Jhaver Group of Companies

207 views0 comments
bottom of page