Adapting Small Holder Agriculture to Climate Change

dapting Smallholder Agriculture to Climate Change

Most of India lives in villages. Being a predominantly agrar- ian society, nearly three-fourths of India’s population live in ru- ral areas. Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for two- thirds of the population. The profound changes in Indian agri- culture since the 1960s have had cascading effects on India’s agrarian economy and society. After the ecological and eco- nomic crisis now the farmers are facing with the changing cli- mate. The worst affected in the process are the small and marginal farmers [SMF] who constitute 70% of the farming community. As per the data from the Census Division, Minis- try of Agriculture, Government of India, opera- tional holdings below 4.0 hectares (ha) constitute 93.6% of the operational holdings in 2000-01, covering 62.96% of the operational area, or about 100.65 million ha in absolute terms (Agriculture Cen- sus, 2005)

Agriculture and climate change are mutually impacted. Often the impact of climate change is underestimated, and the contributions of agriculture to climate change are ignored. As a result much of the discussion, debates on climate change

and agriculture are around particular technologies which can help farming to adapt to climate change. In reali- ty, if farmers have to adapt to the changing climate, we need to understand this in a broader context of ecological, eco- nomical and socio political crisis which Indian farmers are already undergoing and build support systems to facilitate the process of adapta- tion.

The relationship between climate change and agricul- ture is three folds. First, climate change has a direct bearing on the biology of plant and animal growth. Second, there are changes in the farm ecology – such as, for example soil con- ditions, soil moisture, pests and diseases etc. Third the abili- ty of the existing social and economic institutions, particular- ly in rural areas, to deal with the challenges posed by global warming. In the larger context of food security and climate change, it is also important to consider other sectors like ani- mal husbandry and livestock, which are closely linked with agriculture.

Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture

Climate change is manifesting itself in many ways across the country. Among the indicators, while long term rainfall data analysis shows no clear trend of change, region- al variations as well as increased rainfall during summer and reduced number of rainy days can be noticed. In the case of temperature, there is a 0.60 C rise in the last 100 years and it is projected to rise by 3.5-50 C by 2100. The carbon diox- ide concentration is increasing by 1.9 ppm each year and is expected to reach 550 ppm by 2050 and 700 ppm by 2100. Extreme events like frequency of heat and cold waves, droughts and floods have been observed in the last decade. The sea level has risen by 2.5mm every year since 1950 while

the Himalayan glaciers are retreating. These are all symptomatic of climate change (Smith et al., 2007).

Available research indicates that climate change- induced rise in temperature is going to affect rainfall patterns – farming in India depends on monsoons and there is a close link between climate and water resources.

Indian agriculture being predominantly rainfed may be more prone to the impacts of climate change. Rainfall extremities are being witnessed frequently. For instance, it is reported that about two-thirds of the sown area in the coun- try is drought-prone and around 40 million hectares is flood- prone. Climate change is also poised to have a sharply differ- entiated effect as between agro-ecological regions, farming systems, and social classes and groups. The poorest people are likely to be hardest hit by the impacts of climate variabili- ty and change because they rely heavily on climate-sensitive sectors such as rainfed agriculture and fisheries. They also tend to be located geographically in more exposed or margin- al areas, such as flood plains or nutrient-poor soils. The poor also are less able to respond due to limited human, institu- tional and financial capacity and have very limited ability to cope with climate impacts and to adapt to a changing hazard burden.

The organic carbon levels and moisture in the soil will go down while the incidence of runoff erosion will increase. The quality of the crop may also undergo change with lower levels of nitrogen and protein and an increased level of amy- lase content. In paddy, zinc and iron content will go down which will impact reproductive health of animals. Insect life- cycles will increase which in turn will raise the incidence of pest attacks and virulence. Other likely impacts are change in farm ecology

viz. bird-insect relations, and an increase in the sea levels which will cause salinity ingression and submer- gence.

It is projected that due to climate change, kharif rainfall is going to increase and this might be positive for kharif crops. Further, for kharif crops, a one-degree rise in temperature may not have big implications for productivity. However, tem- perature rise in rabi season will impact production of wheat, a critical food-grain crop.

The surface air temperatures will increase by 2 to 4°C by 2070-2100. As mentioned earlier, the rabi crop will be impacted seriously and every 10C increase in temperature reduces wheat production by 4-5 million tons, as per a study by Indian Agricultural Research Institute. This loss can be reduced to 1-2 million tons only if farmers change to timely planting. Increased climatic extremes like droughts and floods are likely to increase production variability. Productivity of most cereals would decrease due to increase in tempera- ture and decrease in water availability, especially in Indo- Gangetic plains (Agarwal et al. 2010). The loss in crop pro- duction is projected at 10-40% by 2100, depending upon the modeling technique applied.

The impacts of climate change are already visible. A network of 15 centres of Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR) working on studying climate change has reported that apple production is declining in Himachal Pradesh due to inadequate chilling. This is also causing a shift in the growing zone to higher elevations (Rana et al. ). Similarly in the case of marine fisheries, it has been observed that Sardines are shifting from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal, which is not their normal habitat. In fact, fisheries are the most vulnerable sector to climate change. Crops have the ability to adapt to extreme climate variability even up to, say, 40C while fishes

and animals do not. It has also been recorded that the pest ecology of certain crops is changing due to climate change.

Global warming may increase average water vapour and evaporation, increase in precipitation in high-altitude regions, significantly alter the Monsoon pattern resulting in long dry spells and heavy downpours and change in storm patterns which could influence the global movement of pests, especially pathogens.

Pest and disease shift

Insect populations like all animal populations are gov- erned by their innate capacity to increase as influenced by various abiotic and biotic factors. The changes caused by the natural evolutionary forces are accelerated with the human interventions. After the changes like depletion of nat- ural resources, environmental pollution, extinction of certain species of plants and animals, the climate change particular- ly caused by inadvertent anthropogenic disturbances has become more evident.

In agricultural ecosystems, soil, plant and animal inter- actions are rarely persistent enough, in time and space, to provide the ecological stability but result in dynamic equilibri- um. Pest shifts are observed with changes in the ecological balance. The natural balance between beneficial and harm- ful insects changes with the cropping patterns, pest manage- ment practices and variability in environment. Weather and Climate have an impact on the pest population. Climate change leads to shifts in the pest incidence, migration and viability thresholds. Today, farming and farmers lives are already affected by the pests and pest management prac- tices they adopt. Hence, understanding the intricacies of cli- mate change on pest management in agriculture is crucial.

Temperature: All life survives with a certain narrow range of temperature. Deviations from this in optimum range on either side are tolerated to some extent, depending on the physiological adaptations of the concerned species or popu- lations. Temperatures above or below these limits can prove lethal. Exposure to lethal high or low temperatures may result in instant killing or failure to grow and reproduce normally. Harmful effects of exposure to sub-lethal temperatures may be manifested at later critical stage like molting or pupation. The rise in temperature might also have a negative effect on delicate natural enemies such as hymenopteran parasitoides and small predators. This may affect natural enemy-pest rela- tionship. For e.g. Brown Plant Hopper is 17 times more toler- ant to 400 C than its predator Cyrtorrhynus lividipennis but wolf spider Paradosa pseudoannulata is tolerant to 40 0 C.

Moisture: Most terrestrial insects live in an environ- ment, which is dry. The only source of water for insects is the water obtained with food material from their host plants. These insects have, therefore developed a variety of mecha- nisms to conserve water. In spite these mechanisms, excep- tionally dry air may prove lethal to most insects. Likewise, excessive moisture may also adversely affect many insects by encouraging disease outbreaks, affecting normal develop- ment and by lowering their capacity to withstand lower tem- peratures. The reproductive capacity of the insects is also affected by moisture but there are great differences in the capacity of different insects to tolerate conditions ranging from extreme dryness to near saturated environments. For example, incidence of Rice Hispa in Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh has increased in the last two years due to prevailing dry situations.

There is a shift observed from the leaf/fruit eating cater- pillars to sucking pests in the recent years. While monocul- ture of crops/varieties and chemical pest management prac- tices understood to have resulted in such pest shifts, climate change also have also contributed for such shift. For exam- ple in cotton there is a shift towards sucking pests (mealy bugs, jassids) particularly after the introduction of Bt cotton. Similarly, Aphid incidence in Groundnut, Thrips and yellow mites in chillies are observed. Most of the sucking pests are also vectors of viral diseases. With increasing incidence of sucking pests viral diseases are also increasing e.g., Budnecrosis in Groundnut, Tobacco Streak Virus incidence in Cotton, and similar viral problems in most of the fruit crops, vegetables.

Impacts of Agriculture on Climate Change

Agriculture contributes around 10-12 % of total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but is the main source of non-carbon dioxide (CO2) GHGs emitting nearly 60 % of nitrous oxide (N20) and nearly 50 % of methane (CH4) (Smith et al., 2007)

Amongst various GHGS that contribute to global warm- ing, carbon dioxide is released through agriculture by way of burning of fossil fuel; methane is emitted through agricultural practices like inundated paddy fields, for example; nitrous oxide through fertilizers, combustion of fossil fuels etc.

Nitrous oxide has a global warming potential 310 times greater than CO2. In India, it is estimated that 28% of the GHG emissions are from agriculture; about 78% of methane and nitrous oxide emissions are also estimated to be from agri- culture.

GHGs and their Global Warming Potential

Measure of the ability of a gas in the atmos- phere to trap heat radiated from the earth’s surface compared to a reference gas, which is usually assumed to be carbon dioxide

  • carbon dioxide (CO2)= 1;
  • methane (CH4)= 21;
  • nitrous oxide (N20) = 310;
  • sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) = 23,900;
  • tetrafluoromethane (CF4)= 6500;
  • hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs): HFC-134a = 1300;
  • chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs):CFC-114=9300 hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs): HCFC-22 = 1700

Smith et al. (2007)

Chemical Fertilizers and Climate Change

Nitrogen fertiliser manufacture and application to the soil contribute significantly to greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions and thus, climate change. India consumes ~14 Mt of synthetic N every year, of which about 80 per cent is pro- duced within the country, making it the second largest con- sumer and pro- ducer of synthetic N fertiliser in the world, after China. As per an estimate the GHG emissions from fertiliser manufacture and use in India reached nearly 100 million Agrarian Crisis in tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2006/07, which represents about

6 percent of total Indian greenhouse gas emissions (Roy 2010).

  • There are many sources of emissions in the manu- fac- ture of synthetic N fertilizers
  • Manufacture of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer is a very en- ergy intensive process, and currently requires large amounts of fossil fuel energy.
  • Natural gas is the main fuel and feedstock, which accounts for 62 per cent of the energy used in syn- thetic N fertilizer production.
  • Less efficient and more polluting fuels such as naph- tha and fuel oil also represent a high share, 15 and 9 per cent respectively, of the energy used in fertiliz- er manufacture (values as of 2006/07, FAI 2007).
  • Of the various forms in which synthetic N fertilizers are available, urea accounts for a chunk of the total N fertilizer produced and consumed (81 per cent in 2006).
  • The synthesis of urea is based on the combination of am- monia and CO2 and its emissions are dominated by CO2
  • While other synthetic N fertilizers comprise a small- er per- centage of the fertilizer market, they make notable emis- sions to the atmosphere both during production and con- sumption. We calculated emis- sions from the manufac- ture of synthetic N fertilizer following the Intergovernmen- tal Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) methodology.
  • Total greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from the manu- facturing and transport of fertiliser are estimat- ed at 6.7 kg CO2 equivalent (CO2, nitrous oxide and methane) per kg N
  • Globally, an average 50% of the nitrogen used in farming is lost to the environment. Significant amounts escape into the air, or seep into the soil and underground water, which in turn result in a host of environmental and human health problems, from cli- mate change and dead zones in the oceans to can- cer and reproductive risks (Galloway et al., 2008)
  • 1.25 kg of N2O emitted per 100 kg of Nitrogen applied
  • as nitrate polluting wells, rivers, and oceans
  • Volatilization loss 25-33 %
  • Leaching loss 20-30 %
  • Being high energy intensive, the fertilizer prices increase as the feed stock prices rise. The increased costs are subsidised by the Central Government and the subsidy reached Rs. 90,000 crore in Indian Budget during 2011- 12 as per the revised estimates.
  • After Nutrient Based Subsidy was introduced in 2008, fer- tilizer prices were decontrolled except for urea and prices have increased by five folds.

With the Phosphotic reserves in the world are depleting and could be economically be exploited only for another 25 years.

Burning Crop Residues

Another major contributor of GHGS is the burning of crop residues. In Punjab, wheat crop residue from 5,500 square kilometers and paddy crop residues from 12,685 square kilo- meters are burnt each year. Every 4 tons of rice or wheat grain produces about 6 tons of straw. Emission Factors for wheat residue burning are estimated as: CO- 34.66g/Kg, NOx 2.63g/ Kg, CH4 0.41g/Km, PM10 – 3.99g/Kg, PM2.5 3.76g/Kg

(Gupta et al., 2004).

Burning of crop residues also impacts the soil (fertility). Heat from burning straw penetrates into the soil up to 1 cm, elevating the temperature as high as 33.8-42.2°C. Bacterial and fungal populations are decreased immediately and sub- stantially in the top 2.5 cm of the soil upon burning. Repeated burning in the field permanently diminishes the bacterial pop- ulation by more than 50%. The economic loss due to the burn- ing of crop residues is colossal. Each year 19.6 million. tonnes of straw of rice and wheat, worth crores of rupees are burnt. Used as recycled biomass, this potentially translates into 38.5 lakh tonnes of organic carbon, 59,000 tonnes of nitrogen, 2,000 tonnes of phosphorous and 34,000 tonnes of potas- sium every year.

Inundated Paddies

Another potent GHG is methane which is emitted in copi- ous amounts through inundated paddy cultivation. Rice pad- dies emit CH4 when they are flooded due to the anaero- bic decomposition of organic matter in the soil producing the gas, which then escapes to the atmosphere mainly through diffu- sive transport through the rice plants (Nouchi et al., 1990), or is oxidized before reaching the surface. The level of

CH4 emission from any given rice paddy is related to fac- tors that control the activity of the methane producing (methanogens) and methane-oxidizing bacteria (methan- otrophs) such as temperature, pH, soil redox potential and substrate availability, and also soil type, rice variety, water management and fertilization with organic carbon and N (see reviews by Le Mer and Roger, 2001, and Conrad, 2002).

In India, of a total area of 99.5 Mha under cereal culti- vation, 42.3 Mha (or 42.5%) is under rice cultivation. It is grown under flooded conditions and the seedbed preparation involves puddling or plowing when the soil is wet to destroy aggregates and reduce the infiltration rate of water. Such anaerobic con- ditions lead to emission of methane and possi- bly nitrous oxide through inefficient fertilizer use.

Emission of methane from rice paddies in India is differ- entially estimated. The average methane flux from rice pad- dies ranges from 9 to 46 g/m2 over a 120- to 150-day grow- ing season

CH4 emissions (Tg CO2 -eq yr-1)Referenes
55.2-138Parashar et al, 1994
135Yan et al, 2003
94.07 27.37Gupta et al., 2009

Large Dams and GHGs

Another indirect contribution of agriculture to GHG emis- sions comes in the form of large dams. Large dams con- trib- ute 18.7% of emissions in India as per an estimate. Total meth- ane emissions from India’s large dams could be 33.5 million tonnes (MT) per annum, including emissions from reservoirs

(1.1 MT), spillways (13.2 MT) and turbines of hydropower dams (19.2 MT). The methane emission from India’s dams is esti- mated at 27.86 % of the methane emis- sion from all the large dams of the world, which is more than the share of any other country of the world (Lima et al. 2007).

Livestock sector

India is now among the world’s largest producers of milk, poultry, meat and eggs. It has the world’s biggest dairy herd, 300 million strong, comprised of cows and buffaloes, and is the second largest global producer of cows’ milk and first in buffalo milk. It is also the world’s top national milk con- sumer and demand for milk and other dairy products is grow- ing by 7 to 8% per year. This country is also the world’s fourth largest producer of eggs and fifth largest producer of poultry meat, principally from chicken.

However, the livestock in India is more distributed and household based and mostly integrated with crop production. The crop residues are used as fodder and the animal waste is used as the manure for the crop fields. The impacts of live- stock on climate change needs to be understood in this con- text. Livestock is also impacted by climate change. Possible temperature increases in India of between 2.3 to 4.8 degrees Celsius by 2050 will add to heat stress in animals used to produce milk and affect reproduction and the amounts of milk each animal provides. Crossbred cows may be most vulner- able to higher temperatures. Increased temperatures and sea level rise may also reduce the availability of land to grow feed, and result in lower crop yields and an increase in the severity and spread of animal diseases.

In 2010, India was the world’s fastest growing poultry market, outpacing Brazil, China, the US and the European Union and Thailand. The costs of producing chicken for meat in the country is world’s second lowest and production of eggs in India is cheaper than in any other country, according to the Poultry Federation of India. India is the top global exporter of buffalo meat and its also exports increase quanti- ties of maize and soy, both important ingredients in commer- cial feed. In addition, India’s leading poultry producers are expanding their sales to countries in Asia and Middle East.

Greenhouse gases (GHGs) are generated at virtually ev- ery point along the livestock production chain. Enteric fer- mentation in livestock released 212.10 million tons of CO2 eq (10.1 million tons of CH4). This constituted 63.4% of the total GHG emissions (CO2 eq) from agriculture sector in India. The estimates cover all livestock, namely, cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, poultry, donkeys, camels, horses and others. Manure management emitted 2.44 million tons of CO2 eq (MOEF, 2010).

In India, emissions from the energy used by agriculture and fisheries industries totaled 34 million tons of CO2 or 3% of the GHGs produced by the energy sector. This does not include emissions from electricity taken from the national grid to activities such as cool large poultry or egg operations or dairies, or to slaughter and process animals and their prod- ucts. Soil cultivation related to animal agriculture globally emits about 28 million tons of CO2 every year. More than half of this energy used in producing milk and eggs can be attrib- uted to feed production. There are other indirect CO2 emis- sions, specifically from the manufacture of chemical and nitrogen based fertilizers. About 41 million tons of CO2 are emitted

globally each year from the production of nitrogen fertilizers applied to feed crops.

Carbon dioxide is also released when forests and other vegetation are destroyed to make way for feed crops or pas- ture. Considerable uncertainty exists in calculating overall GHGs from such changes in land use, though the FAO esti- mates that 2.4 billion tons of CO2 are emitted every year due to deforestation to create pasture land for livestock or land for cultivation of feed crops. On the top of this, 100 million tons of CO2 is released every year from livestock-induced deser- tification of land.

GHG emission from the use of farm machinery

The other major source of energy emissions in inten- sive farming models are in the form of fossil fuels for machin- ery like tractors, harvesters and so on, pumps for irrigation etc.

Operation typeEmission level (kg CO2 -eq ha-1)
Drilling or Seeding8.10-14.30
Application of Agrochemicals1.80-37.00
Combine harvesting2210-42.10

Calculated from data in Lal (2004)

Adapting to Climate Change

Conventional approaches to understanding climate change were limited to identifying and quantifying the poten- tial long-term climate impacts on different ecosystems and economic sectors. While this approach is useful in depicting general trends and dynamic interactions between the atmos- phere, biosphere, land, oceans and ice this top-down, sci- ence driven approach failed to address the regional and local im-

pacts of climate change and the local abilities to adapt to cli- mate-induced changes (TERI (       ).

Approaches to Climate Change Adaptation

The two main types of adaptation are autonomous and planned adaptation. Autonomous adaptation is the reaction of, for example, a farmer to changing rainfall patterns, in that s/he changes crops or uses uses different different harvest and planning/sowing dates, by trial and error.

Planned adaptation measures are conscious policy options or response strategies, often multisectoral in nature, aimed at altering the adaptive capacity of the agricultural sys- tem or facilitating specific adaptations. For example, deliber- ate crops/varieties selection, promoting/discouraging certain practices by incentivizing/regulating etc. And the adaptation measures are to be considered holistically including trade- offs among biophysical and socio-political factors.

Biodiversity in all its components (e.g. genes, species, ecosystems) increases resilence to changing environmental conditions and stresses. Genetically-diverse populations and species rich ecosystems have greater potential to adapt to climate change. Use of indigenous and locally-adapted plants and animals, hence, selection and multiplication of crop varieties animal species locally adapted and resistant to adverse conditions is essential.

Work on adapted crops and animals cannot be separat- ed from their management options within agro-ecosystems. For example, Rice one of the staple food crops of India had several varieties with different abilities to tolerate high tem- perature, salinity, drought and floods. Rice varieties with salinity tolerance have been used to expedite the recovery of production in areas damaged by the 2004 tsunami (FAO, 2007). Similarly, practices like System of Rice Intensification

can reduce the water usage and thereby methane emissions from the paddy fields. It was observed that the methane emissions are 4 times lesser and Nitrous oxide emissions are 5 times lesser from SRI fields compared to conventional paddy fields (Karki 2010).

Climate change adaptation for agricultural cropping systems requires a higher resilience against both excess of water (due to high intensity rainfall) and lack of water (due to extended drought periods). A key element to both problems is soil organic matter, which improves and stabilizes the soil structure so that the soils can absorb higher amounts of water without causing surface runoff, which could result in soil erosion and, further downstream, in flooding. Soil organ- ic matter also improves the water absorption capacity of the soil for during extended drought. While intensive tillage reduces soil organic matter through aerobic mineralization, low tillage and the maintenance of a permanent soil cover (through crops, crop residues or cover crops and the intro- duction of diversified crop rotations) increases soil organic matter. A no- or low-tilled soil conserves the structure of soil for fauna and related macropores (earthworms, termites and root channels) to serve as drainage channels for excess water. Surface mulch cover protects soil from excess tem- peratures and evaporation losses and can reduce crop water requirements by 30 per cent. Thus organic/ecological farm- ing can increase soil organic carbon, reduce mineral fertiliz- ers use and reduce on-farm energy costs.

A broad range of agricultural water management prac- tices and technologies are available to spread and buffer pro- duction risks. Enhancing residual soil moisture through land conservation techniques assists significantly at the margin of dry periods while buffer strips, mulching and zero tillage help to mitigate soil erosion risk in areas where rainfall intensities

increase. The inter-annual storage of excess rainfall and the use of resource efficient irrigation remain the only guaranteed means of maintaining cropping intensities.

The negative impact of ruminants on greenhouse gases emissions can be addressed through changes in ani- mal hus- bandry including ruminant diets and animal stocking ratios to avoid nitrous oxide emissions. Effective waste man- agement in the form of biogas etc. can also reduce the emis- sions in the form of methane.

The risks and vulnerabilities of the poor who live in inse- cure places and need to build their resilience to cope with climatic fluctuations are among the more important chal- lenges in adapting to increasing climate variability and climate change.

To sum up Sustainable Agriculture (ecological farm- ing/ organic farming/LEISA/Non Pesticidal Management/SRI etc) approaches are now acknowledged for the wide set of eco- logical and economic benefits that accrue to the practi- tioners as well as consumers of agricultural products. These ap- proaches which are based on low external inputs are also low energy intensive and less polluting hence mitigate and help in adapting to the climate change.

However, the promotion of sustainable agriculture on a large scale is often confronted about its potential as well as its practical limitations. In the last five years two large scale ini- tiatives, NPM scaling up (Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture-CMSA) in Andhra Pradesh (Ramanjaneyulu and Rao, 2008) and SRI promotion in states of Tripura, Orissa and Tamil Nadu have brought in new learn- ings and broken the earlier apprehensions on scaling up such practices and their relevance on a large scale.

These successful experiences had three elements in com- mon. First, all have made use of locally adapted resource con- serving technologies. Second, in all there has been coordi- nated action by groups or communities at local level. Third, there have been supportive external (or non- local) govern- ment and/or non-governmental institutions working in partner- ship with farmers. Almost every one of the successes has been achieved despite existing policy envi- ronments which still strongly favor ‘modern and established’ approaches (technol- ogy and support systems) to agricultural development.

Now the challenge is how these can be scaled up onto a large scale across the nation given the wide diversity of sit- uations. This needs a newer approach in terms of capacity building, horizontal learning, newer institutional systems and newer forms of financial support to be put in place. The pro- grammatic support to agriculture today favour only high exter- nal input based agriculture. As a result, none of the mainstream programs provide any support for promotion of these models. This needs the recasting of program guide- lines or initiating newer program to provide support to more sustainable mod- els in agriculture which can be easily acces- sible to small and marginal farmers.

Therefore any effort to initiate a programmatic support to scale up sustainable agriculture must have a broadframe work of

  • Reducing the risks with uncertain weather conditions and degraded and limited natural resources in these regions, by adopting suitable cropping patterns and production practices,
  • Diversifying the assets and income sources to sus- tain the livelihoods by integrating livestock and horti- culture into agriculture and promoting on-farm and off-farm em- ployment opportunities,
  • Conserving and efficiently use the available natural re- sources like soil and water, and promote biomass gen- eration,
  • Organizing farmers into institutions which can help to them to have better planning, greater control over their produc- tion, help to access resources and sup- port, improve food security and move up in the value chain,
  • Building livelihood security systems to withstand the natural disasters like drought, floods and other cli- mate uncer- tainties


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