Climate Services: Making farmers climate smart
‘Climate change’ is a phrase not only heard at environmental summits like the WSDS but also in our daily lives, and for good reason too. It is perhaps the greatest challenge being faced by the world population today due to its widespread effects on our geology, our economies, and our societies. At WSDS 2018, the thematic track on ‘Climate Services: Navigating into an uncertain future’, discussed through the prism of its impact on India’s agricultural community, and the correct responses.
Climate change, and its impact on farmers
Agriculture plays a huge role in India’s GDP. With many rural households depending on agriculture for their livelihood, the threat posed by climate change by way of droughts, unpredictable rainfall and rising temperatures is a matter of grave concern, former Indian Ambassador to Russia, Mr Ajai Malhotra said. These changes affect not only the lives of farmers, but Indians everywhere, which rely on agriculture for food and economic contribution.
“The key to effective adaptation, in my view, lies in empowering individuals, in empowering rural farming communities, in promoting a two-way flow of information and perspectives, and enhancing disaster reduction efforts. We not only need to back farmers’ efforts with proper information but also allow them access to funding, technological resources and technical information which is timely and useful for them.” said Mr Malhotra. “Vulnerable rural and farmer communities must equally have the opportunity to share their traditional knowledge and present their grassroots perspective to policy makers.”
“While the Indian farming community has been equipped through telecommunication and mobile services like voice messages, disseminating crop information and relevant environmental conditions, it is imperative for the farmer community to be heard on the climate-related services,” said Mr Crispino Lobo, Managing Trustee of Watershed Organization Trust (WOTR).
The way forward
There is an urgent need to combat climate change, due to its direct impact on global food security. As Jan Petter Borring, Senior Advisor, Ministry of Environment, Oslo summed it up: “Without effective climate mitigation policies, even the very best climate services cannot preempt food insecurity."