India Region

Climate Change Crisis: More Than 30 Percent Indian Farmers Have Faced Drought and Excessive Rains, New Survey Reveals

27 June 2024, New Delhi: A recent survey conducted by the Development Intelligence Unit (DIU) has revealed that climate change is having a widespread impact on Indian marginal farmers.

The report states that out of 6,615 farmers surveyed, 40.9% of farmers have faced drought, while 32.6% of farmers have suffered damage to their crops due to excessive rains. This has resulted in a sharp decline in crop production, adversely affecting the livelihood of farmers.

A total of 6,615 marginal farmers were sampled for this research. These farmers were selected from 20 states of India. The survey was conducted via telephone and farmers were selected based on their land holdings. Thus it was a purposive sample that included only those marginal farmers who had less than 1 hectare of land.

More than 3,000 farmers were included from Hindi-speaking states. These included 410 marginal farmers from Chhattisgarh, 417 from Madhya Pradesh, 646 from Uttar Pradesh, 525 from Bihar, 401 from Jharkhand, 155 from Haryana, 145 from Punjab and 392 from Rajasthan.

Effects of climate change

86% of the farmers affected by climate change linked changes in their occupation to climate impact. Most of them have turned to animal husbandry, small businesses, and other non-agricultural activities to stabilize their income.

Marginal farmers, who own less than one hectare of land, make up the largest part of India’s agricultural sector. According to the Agricultural Census 2015-16, these farmers constitute 68.5% of India’s total farmers but own only 24% of the crop area. The effects of climate change have had a profound impact on the lifestyle and livelihood of these farmers. Drought, excessive rain, and erratic weather conditions have caused heavy damage to their crops.

It is estimated that if adaptation measures are not adopted, India may see a 20% reduction in rain-fed rice yield by 2050 and 47% by 2080. Similarly, wheat yield is projected to decline by 19.3% by 2050 and 40% by 2080.

The Indian government has launched several schemes to make agriculture more sensitive to climate change. These include the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN), and Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY). These schemes aim to provide economic security to farmers and increase their production capacity.

Farmers need to be empowered to deal with the effects of climate change. For this, awareness and training programs are needed at the community level along with effective implementation of government schemes.

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