Resilience of Marginalized Farmers to Climate Change

Climate change is a growing threat to India’s agriculture-dependent people. And that’s two Indians out of three! Debt and economic distress, variation in agricultural prices, barriers to market access, stagnant if not shrinking public investment, land degradation, water scarcity, and persistent problems of inadequate irrigation and agricultural diversification are among the many faces. -headed hydra encountered by an Indian farmer.  Undoubtedly, the Green Revolution of the 1960s transformed India from a country with a food deficit to a country with a food surplus, and today India is the largest producer of many crops in the world. But even Dr. M S Swaminathan, who in his later years was considered the “Father of the Green Revolution”, supported small farmers, environmental protection, and fair farming practices. 

 Increasing vulnerabilities

    These issues are important because the effects of climate change, from extreme weather events to fluctuations in rainfall, have increased the vulnerability of smallholder farmers worldwide. The need for climate justice is critical because climate change disproportionately affects those who are least responsible for greenhouse gas emissions. Their limited access to natural resources, including land, water, and modern agricultural technology, leaves them unprepared to deal with climate challenges. In India, the impact of climate change is particularly strong. Irregular monsoons, increased heat waves, and changing pests have disrupted agricultural practices.  Biofertilizers and climate change mitigation, a green solution for agriculture.  According to the  Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is “an approach that helps guide action to transform agri-food systems to green and climate-resilient practices.” For example, in drought-prone areas of India, farmers are increasingly growing drought-resistant crops such as millet. These hardy grains require less water, making them suitable for dry conditions. In addition, farmers harvest rainwater to deal with erratic rainfall to conserve precious water resources. Additionally, due to the effects of climate change, many marginalized farmers in India are turning to organic agriculture, which is pesticide-free, promotes healthier ecosystems and soil fertility, and increases the resilience of crops to the effects of climate change. In other cases, marginalized farmers diversify their crops to spread risk and reduce vulnerability as part of climate-smart agriculture. By growing different crops, they can adapt to changing conditions and protect themselves against crop losses.

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