Climate Challenges on Farming

South Asia is one of the most densely populated regions in the world. Agriculture is the backbone of South Asia. South Asian farmers have to feed 20% of the global population with 5% global agricultural lands. One-third of the world’s poor living is in the South Asian region. The fundamental basis of Agriculture is affected by temperature, rainfall and weather, climate change, the occurrence of floods, droughts and heat stress. Excessive use of agrochemicals and non-sustainable use of energy and water has contributed to many global challenges such as air pollution, water pollution, high emissions, water and energy scarcity, loss of biodiversity and health hazards. There are 30 world’s most populated cities in South Asia, 21 are in India alone.

Threatening food security and agriculture is due to increasing temperatures, changing rainfall patterns and quicken glaciers melting due to global warming. Due to current crises in the covid-19 pandemic, farmers are exposed to dual challenges like unpredictable climate conditions as well as uncertainty in production, marketing, transportation and income. Temperatures have been increasing across South Asia. According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change by 2050, there will be a 0.88-3.16°C rise in average temperature. National Solar Mission, National Emission of Enhanced Energy efficiency, National Mission for Green India, National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture, National Water Mission are some of the measures taken by India for climate change. There is a decrease in the magnitude of the agricultural vulnerability of rice and an increase in the agricultural vulnerability of wheat in the previous decades. The changes in the agricultural vulnerability of crops are highly region-specific.

The climatic drivers such as temperature, rainfall patterns and hazards affect agriculture in mountain areas. The high altitude area of the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region has a shortage of water and uncertainties having an impact on agriculture and food security. Clear impacts are visible in high mountain regions. For the rural areas of different HKH region has less drinking water supply due to reduced snowmelt and glacier. Due to more melting of Himalayan glaciers, downstream areas are affected in many ways. Firstly, water availability will increase. This will be during the summer and monsoon seasons. It will affect people with floods and property damage. When water is most needed for irrigation in the dry season, the water supply will gradually reduce. This will affect agriculture and food security in large parts of South Asia.

Climate change demands an integrated approach in dealing with food security. The impact of climate change on long-term resilience and sustainability in agriculture. To address the climate crises, innovative strategies and approaches are needed. Thus, policy choices need to focus on resolving urgent food needs and health. 21% of the total area is affected by the drought among them 39.4% is agricultural land. Due to drought, the agricultural risk has significantly increased due to the impact of the hydro-climatic hazard.

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