Climate Change & Agriculture

Last Updated: Feb 2023

Climate Change & Agriculture

This article deals with ‘Climate Change & Agriculture.’ This is part of our series on ‘Economics’ which is an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


Climate Change & Agriculture
  • Climate Change is leading to
    1. Changes in Mean Temperature
    2. Excess or deficit in rainfall 
    3. Uncertain weather behaviour (due to change in pressure systems) 
  • Indian agriculture, with 60% rainfed area, remains vulnerable to various vagaries of monsoon. Climate change has aggravated these vagaries.
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report has also pointed out that climate change will gravely affect agriculture & food security.

Observations from Economic Survey

  • The number of Cold Days in a year has been decreasing. 
  • The number of Dry Days in a year has been increasing. 
  • The average temperature has been increasing in almost all states. 
  • Rainfall has a mixed trend (at some places it is increasing and at other places, it is decreasing). UP and Kerala, along with the North Eastern States, are witnessing a maximum decrease.

How it is impacting Indian Agriculture? 

  • Impact on productivity & yield: Productivity & yield will decrease. It will impact unirrigated areas more (60% of India’s agricultural land is rainfed).
  • Impact on farmer incomes: Decline in production leads to a decrease in the farmer’s incomes.
  • Pest attacks will increase due to the warming of the climate. It was seen in the attack of White Fly in Punjab in 2015, which led to the destruction of cotton crop or locust attack in Rajasthan and MP in 2020.
  • A rise in mean temperature of 2 to 3 C will reduce the duration of the wheat crop in North India, resulting in a loss of 6 to 7 million tonnes of wheat every year.  
  • The mortality of livestock will increase because of new viruses and bacterial attacks.  
  • The frequency of incidents like floods, droughts etc., will increase. 

Methods to deal

  • Spread Irrigation, especially Drip Irrigation, against a backdrop of rising water scarcity and depleting groundwater ( work on the mantra of “more crop for every drop“) 
  • Strengthen Agriculture Insurance  (Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana) to protect farmers against the vagaries of nature. 
  • Moving towards Climate Smart Crops, especially Climate-Smart Millets  (2018 was declared Year of Millets by the Government)
  • Developing Halophyte Varieties (of Rice): Due to Global Warming, the sea level is rising. About 150 years ago, the farmer of Kuttanad in Kerala perfected the method of cultivating rice below sea level, which requires both salinity management and varieties like Pokkali, which are salinity tolerant (FAO has declared the Kuttanad Farming System as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)). Areas like Sundarbans should also try this. 
  • Improve pest management
  • Timely availability of weather-based advisories should be ensured.

Schemes of Government


– NICAR = National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture 
It works under ICAR
– Function: To enhance the resilience of Indian Agriculture against climate change & vulnerability.   
National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) is a sub-scheme of the Green Revolution. 

Under this mission following schemes have been started
1. Soil Health Card Scheme
2. Parampragat Krishi Vikas Yojana
NAPCD National Action Plan to Combat Desertification 

Methods at World Level

  • FAO led  Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture (GACSA)  
  • Paris Deal to contain Climate Change.

Conclusion: Climate change has already increased the volatility of prices of agricultural commodities. Future will belong to the nations with grains and not guns. 

Side Topic: Climate Smart Agriculture

Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) is an integrated approach with three main objectives:  

  1. Reduce the impact of climate on agriculture. 
  2. Reduce the impact of agriculture on climate (agriculture produces 25% of world GHG emissions and 63% of India’s methane emissions)
  3. Increase in productivity as well as incomes of farmers. 

It is a new concept and is at a nascent stage in India.

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