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Shobha Karandlaje urges scientists to collaborate for climate-resilient agriculture

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Hyderabad: Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Shobha Karandlaje on Monday called upon scientists, researchers, experts, academicians, policymakers, and stakeholders to collaborate closely to advance climate-resilient agriculture.

Speaking at the three-day G20 Technical Workshop on Climate-Resilient Agriculture, here, Shobha highlighted the pressing global challenges posed by climate change.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report for 2022 emphasizes the far-reaching impacts of climate change on nature, people’s lives, and infrastructure, with its adverse effects increasingly evident across the globe, hampering sustainable development.

Shobha stated that agriculture, among various sectors, is particularly susceptible to climate change, with its impacts already being felt in G20 nations. Droughts, floods, hailstorms, heatwaves, cold spells, unseasonal weather, high-intensity rainfall events, pest outbreaks, and other threats are disrupting agriculture.

To address these climate risks, adaptation is crucial, offering immediate benefits and mitigating adverse climate impacts. Climate-Resilient Agriculture (CRA) encompasses adaptation and the co-benefits of adaptation strategies. CRA involves judicious and improved management of land, water, soil, and genetic resources through the adoption of best practices.

In India, several climate change initiatives have been launched, including the Network Project on Climate Change (NPCC) by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), consisting of eight National Missions designed to tackle climate change’s multidimensional challenges.

The National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) aims to devise strategies to enhance India’s agricultural resilience to climate change. Additionally, flagship programs such as the National Innovations in Climate-Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) are implementing strategic research and large-scale technology demonstrations on farmers’ fields to enhance their resilience and adaptive capacity.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, Government of India, is adopting a National Agriculture Disaster Management Plan, while ICAR, in collaboration with State Agriculture Universities and various state departments, has prepared Agriculture Contingency Plans (DACPs) for 650 districts, operationalized by MoAFW, to cope with weather anomalies in crops, horticulture, and the livestock sector.

Addressing climate risks in agriculture necessitates characterizing them at actionable scales and harmonizing available methodologies for climate risk assessment vis-a-vis agriculture. Furthermore, knowledge from various international organizations needs consideration.

Identifying scalable resilient practices, quantifying their benefits through socioeconomic analysis, and mapping agro-ecology-specific analogous approaches are essential for sharing them within and across G20 nations.

In India, climate-resilient practices are being demonstrated on farmers’ fields in 446 villages across 151 highly risk-prone districts. Village-level institutions like the Village Climate Risk Management Committee and Custom Hiring Centers for small farm mechanization are facilitating the adoption of these resilient practices. Many government schemes are converging to scale out these technologies.

The International Year of Millets is also being celebrated, promoting climate-resilient crops in various agro-ecologies, she added.

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