National consultation concludes, recommendations to be shared with government; CSE report ‘Lived Anomaly’ released by noted agriculture scientist MS Swaminathan and, Siraj Husain, Agriculture Secretary, Government of India
New Delhi, November 27:On the final day of the National Consultation on Crop Loss Estimation, Relief and Compensation,Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) called for global action to develop safety nets to shield farmers from the consequences of extreme weather events. “The negotiators at the climate talks, starting shortly in Paris,need to be mindful of the impact of changing climate on agriculture, and the devastating consequences it has on farmers as well as the food security prospects of the world,” said CSE’s Deputy Director GeneralChandra Bhushanwho is leading a delegation of CSE specialists and Indian media to Paris.
On Thursday evening, CSE report on the impact of extreme weather events on Indian agriculture, “Lived anomaly: How to enable farmers in India to cope with extreme weather events” was released by eminent scientist Dr MS Swaminathan, Agriculture Secretary SirajHusain, social activist Yogendra Yadav, CSE Director General SunitaNarain and Deputy Director General Chandra Bhushan.
Dr Swaminathan said the impact of weather events on agriculture was indicated by the fact that India recently imported 10 million tonnes of pulses. “Fifty years ago when India started the green revolution, it was importing 10 million tonnes of wheat. We seems to be back to the same situation because of climate change” he said.
CSE report ‘Lived Anomaly’
Discussing CSE’s new report, Bhushan said the world had seen an unprecedented increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.In the decade of 1900-1910, the world saw 2.5 extreme weather events per year. In the decade of 2000-10, this went up to 350. In the past twenty years, India is one of the top three countries which saw the largest numbers of such events.
Impact on agriculture
The impact of extreme weather events on India’s agriculture is growing. In early 2015, as many as 15 states were affected and 33 per cent of the cropped areas were damaged. The loss to farmers were in excess of Rs. 20,000 crore (US$ 4 billion). “In such situations, we need universal access to compensation mechanisms like crop insurance to improve the coping abilities of farmers to deal with extreme weather event,” said Bhushan.
Speaking at the release function, M S Swaminathan warned about the challenges posed by climate change to India’s food security and pointed towards the 2006 report of the National Commission on Farmers which had dealt with issues of building safety nets for dealing with extreme weather events.
Warning of agriculture becoming unviable for farmers, SunitaNarain, Director General, CSEsaid, “It is important that farming becomes viable with better policies and protection, so that villages are not depopulated, causing serious employment issues and social problems.”
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