Climate change to affect small farmers: ActionAid

Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, Feb 28 (IANS) More than 80 percent small farmers, contributing to half of India's crop production, will be affected by climate change, which is impacting faster than predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), says a recent study.

The study, conducted by ActionAid and Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, was released Tuesday.

"Around 80 percent of small and marginal farmers who contribute about 50 percent of the total crop production will be the most affected by the changing climate," said the study.

The study was was shared and deliberated upon at a National Consultation on Climate Change and Agriculture - Adaptation and Mitigation by Small and Marginal Farmers.

Birendra Sahariya, 40, a farmer from Sipri village in Bundelkhand region in Uttar Pradesh, was in Delhi to share his testimony.

"The pattern of rainfall has changed. It is so scattered that at times it rains but fields remain dry. The rainfall pattern was not like this about 10-15 years ago, and we are unable to understand it," he said.

Stating that he lost everything due to changing weather, Sahariya said one of his sons committed suicide as he was unable to pay back a loan of Rs.2 lakh.

The cost of fertilisers, except urea, has increased by more than 300 percent after the nutrient based subsidy scheme was introduced and manufacturers were given a free hand to fix the price, the study noted.

Despite this, there is increased dependency on chemical fertilisers to meet soil fertility needs, given the emphasis on the chemical fertiliser-intensive green revolution model.

"The small and marginal farmers who are the largest food producers of our country can only sustain their production system if the policies and practices on climate resilient sustainable agriculture is widely adopted," said Amar Jyoti Nayak of ActionAid India.