Climate change is a global phenomenon often confused with the more transitory change in weather. It has induced significant long-term changes in the temperature, precipitation, wind patterns, and other parameters that affect local climatic conditions, and has set new records globally. These changes have a far-reaching effect on the agriculture sector, as it happens to be one of the most climate-sensitive sectors with its productivity depending entirely on prevailing weather conditions. Climate change also has adverse implications on the world’s food supply.
How Does Climate Change Affect Agriculture?
Global warming is one of the crucial aspects of climate change, which denotes the global rise in average surface temperature as a result of numerous human activities. Global warming has caused not only a rise in sea levels, which had a direct impact on agriculture in low coastal regions. It has also caused a surge in erratic weather patterns including pronounced heat waves, excessive and abnormal rainfall, droughts, floods, and thunderstorms. This in turn has intensified other risks such as soil erosion, water scarcity, loss of vegetation, coastal degradation, changes in soil salinity, and permafrost thawing, which affects crop yields in diverse ways.
Intense changes in local climatic conditions have also escalated the incidence of pest infestations and diseases while reducing the crop's ability to resist them. New breeds of pathogens, pests, and weeds are also increasingly on the rise. Seed-producing companies are thus under much pressure to develop seed variants that are resilient to pests, diseases, and the evolving climate. Additionally, global warming has also impacted the levels of atmospheric carbon-dioxide and soil nutrients, which further weaken the crop quality and output.
Considering the various reasons that have resulted in poor harvests and steep production expenses, many markets fail to or manage to just meet the caloric demands of the ever-increasing population. The imbalance between supply and demand affects the availability and the price of the food produce in different parts of the world, and exerts a pressure on global food security.
Scientists claim that climate change can be reversed entirely if drastic measures are taken starting immediately. Nevertheless, it is a slow and long-drawn process that needs the unconditional cooperation of every country. In the meantime, agronomists and researchers are proposing various approaches to combat climate change by adopting climate-resilient practices for sustainable and productive agriculture.
Combating Weather Extremities Through Climate-Resilient Practices
Although it is impossible to avert erratic weather conditions, their effects can however be managed by preparing in advance. Advancements in modern technology and their innovative applications in different sectors have brought about a revolution in the way farming is practiced today in many parts of the world, and the developing nations are now adopting technology-led solutions to make agriculture sustainable during trying times.
Cropin’s SmartFarm leverages weather forecast data to alert agribusinesses about impending weather conditions that are highly likely to damage standing crops and affect yields. The implementation of such advisory has proven effective in the Sustainable Livelihoods and Adaptation to Climate Change (SLACC) Project, an initiative of the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), supported by the World Bank. The pilot program was implemented in 200 villages spread across four districts of Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, in partnership with the National Rural Livelihoods Project (NRLP) and supported by the State Rural Livelihood Missions (SRLM).
As the technology partner in this initiative toward building climate resilience in India, Cropin provides a smart platform to monitor and capture farm-level data and deliver adaptive real-time advisories for climate-smart agriculture in regions that are otherwise prone to weather extremities.
Cropin’s first-of-its-kind advisory platform has thus far transformed the lives of over 4,000 farmers in the 200 targeted villages and has digitized over 12,000 farm plots across 22 crop varieties in the last 2 years. Cropin’s platform has provided a holistic approach for farmers to diversify their income opportunities from farming, livestock, and more.
- 35% of the targeted households adopted livelihoods with enhanced climate resilience
- 100% of the targeted households demonstrated strengthened awareness and climate change risk reduction processes/measures
- 3760 farmers of the total 4000 farmers demonstrated climate-resilient agricultural practices
- 100% of the community institutions have access to technical and/or financial support for climate adaptation plans
Likewise, organizations can also pre-configure alerts in the application to forewarn weather-sensitive stresses. Managing these stressors proactively helps growers avoid catastrophic events and the consequent economic losses.
Cropin further enables the management team to configure activity plans for climate-smart agriculture and an expert-recommended package of practices for over 380 crops and 3660 crop varieties. Using the mobile application, field extension officers ensure that these climate-resilient practices are being adopted by farmers at the right time intervals, and are being adhered to exactly as recommended. By doing so, agribusinesses can achieve optimum yields by using making judicious use of resources.