Getting mitigation into India’s agricultural policy discourse
As part of ongoing national workshops to support climate change policy in agriculture, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) regional office in New Delhi recently hosted a one-day expert group workshop on low carbon development pathways in agriculture. The workshop was aimed at getting a wide range of policy and research experts from South Asia to assess the current state of low carbon agriculture in India, identify technologies that are ready to take off, and suggest policy and technical support necessary for overcoming the existing barriers in low carbon agriculture.
Excluding mitigation in agriculture can lead to weak climate programs
Many governments in South Asia have focused their agricultural policies on increasing agricultural production to meet food security, with few of them including mitigation into their agricultural sector. While opportunities exist for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture, these emissions are expected to increase with population growth, and contribute to continued climate change, ultimately affecting productivity. To turn this around, adaptation and mitigation programs need to be mainstreamed into agricultural plans, in order to balance the adaptation-mitigation equation and make the programs more climate-smart. This demands urgent policy decisions and targeted actions to balance agricultural production with GHG emissions.
Over 20 experts participated in the workshop, representing diverse research and policy sector backgrounds including the Government of India, NGOs, universities, and research institutions. Pramod Aggarwal, CCAFS regional program leader in the the Indo-Gangetic Plains research area took part in the event. He emphasized to the participants that climate change is increasingly threatening sustainable agriculture, a livelihood for the majority poor - not just in India but also globally - and that it warrants serious policy and action.
A representative from the Indian government said in the workshop that India has realized the seriousness of the threat posed by climate change to its agricultural sector and that the government is not only mainstreaming climate change in developmental programs but is also taking international leadership in climate issues.
The outcome of the workshop
The workshop produced assessed the strengths and weaknesses of five major areas of intervention: rice, irrigation, soil and land management, agroforestry, and policies and management.
The workshop also came out with a priority list of policy hurdles, feasible technological options and need for support through policy, financial incentives, research, and development. A detailed technical paper based on the outcomes of the workshop will eventually be published by CCAFS, in order to guide stakeholders to mainstream low-carbon pathways in sectoral programs.
Download the minutes from the workshop below to learn more.
This story was contributed by wangsonam [at] gmail [dot] com (Sonam W. Wang), who is working with CGIAR Climate on mitigation and adaption policy in the South Asian countries of Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and India. Read more about this research.