Farmers in eight countries see climate change as a major challenge: survey

Many farmers surveyed in eight countries, including India,  reported weather changes in recent years. Eight out of ten farmers who have experienced the effects of heat predict a decrease in yield in the coming years. These are some of the main findings of the “Farmer Voice” study by the life sciences company Bayer. He commissioned Kekst CNC to independently interview 800 farmers from Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, India, Kenya, Ukraine, and the United States. 

While 76 percent of farmers were concerned about the future effects of climate change, 71 percent said climate change was already affecting their farms.  Many farmers in these countries mention that they have experienced very high temperatures, long periods of high temperatures, and drought on their farms in recent years. Almost 73 percent of farmers have experienced increased pest and disease pressure on their farms due to climate change.  

 According to the report, climate impacts are estimated to have reduced farmers’ income by an average of 15.7 percent over the past two years. One in six farmers in these eight countries lost income by up to 25 percent during this period.  

  Rodrigo Santos, Member of the Management Board and Head of Crops at Bayer AG, said at a selected virtual media roundtable: “Farmers are already experiencing the adverse effects of climate change on their fields and at the same time. they play a key role in solving this enormous challenge. That’s why it’s so important to put their voices front and center. The losses described in this study clearly demonstrate the direct threat of climate change to global food security. Given the world’s population growth, the results must be a catalyst for efforts to revive agriculture”. 

 Mitigation steps 

 The Farmer Voice survey also found that farmers are taking action to mitigate climate change and value innovation.  More than 80 percent of the farmers who responded to the survey already take or plan to take measures to implement measures that affect the reduction of greenhouse gasses. The main focuses are the use of cover crops (43 percent), the use of renewable energy or biofuels (37 percent), and the use of innovative seeds to reduce fertilizers or plant protection  (33 percent). More than half (54 percent) of farmers say they are already taking action to protect insects or plan to take action within the next three years. 

   Nearly 53 percent of farmers said access to seeds and traits that better survive extreme weather conditions would benefit their farm the most, and 50 percent called for better crop protection technology. Nearly 42 percent said better access to irrigation technology would benefit their farm. Observing these practices, improving land use, diversifying crops, and improving soil health is the most important path to success. 

 Financial challenges 

 Economic challenges are the main priority for farmers in these countries over the next three years. More than half (55 percent) of farmers cited fertilizer costs as their top three challenges, followed by energy costs (47 percent), price and income fluctuations (37 percent), and crop protection costs (36 percent). The importance of fertilizer costs appears most clearly in Kenya, India, and Ukraine. Rodrigo Santos noted that farmers face multiple and related challenges: “However, we found that they are hopeful – almost three quarters say they are positive about the future of agriculture”.

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