A global phenomenon often confused with the more transitory change in weather, climate change 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, in addition to adverse implications on the world’s food supply.
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, but has also caused the 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 crops 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 pest-, disease- and climate-resilient. 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.
Although scientists claim that climate change can be reversed entirely if drastic measures are taken starting immediately, it is nevertheless 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-relient practices for sustainable and productive agriculture.
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 data derived from weather forecasts to alert agri-based entities about impending weather conditions that are highly likely to damage standing crop 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, locally dubbed as JEEViKA, is currently being implemented in 200 villages spread across four districts of Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, in partnership with National Rural Livelihoods Project (NRLP) and supported by the State Rural Livelihood Missions (SRLM).
As the technology partner in this initiative towards building climate resilience in India, CropIn provides a smart platform to monitor and capture farm-level data and deliver adaptive real-time advisories for a 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, aquaculture, livestock and more.
Likewise, organisations can also pre-configure alerts in the application to forewarn weather-sensitive stresses, including biotic ones such as the occurrence of a plant pathogen including bacteria, virus or fungus that occur at specific temperature ranges, and abiotic and environmental stresses such as unexpected frost or intense sunlight[*]. By managing these stressors, particularly some biotic ones that could also impact human health, CropIn empowers organisations to avoid catastrophic events and the consequent economic losses.
CropIn further enables the management team to configure activity plan for climate-smart agriculture and expert-recommended package of practices for over 380 crops and 3660 crop varieties. Using the mobile application, field extension officers ensure that these 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.