Farmers are refugees of climate change.
Lack of research and development in the agriculture sector, government subsidies, international imports and competition, unpredictable climate patterns are the main causes for a staggering number of Indian farmers who are resorting to suicide.Suicide has spread like an epidemic among the distraught farmers.
Climate change and agricultureare interrelated processes, both of which take place on a global scale, not just India. Climate change affects agriculture in a number of ways, including through changes in sea levels,average temperatures, ground level ozone levels, rainfall and climate extremes, changes inpests and diseases and changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide.
We do not need pity and more glorified media coverage on farmers suicide. What is urgently needed is to address the consequences of rising temperatures for India’s soil, water, and irrigation systems. India is party to the COP 21, now its time we ask for global help where our farmers plight is concerned. Make it a point for the world to know and act upon, that it is seen as good investments by the people who control climate funds.
Forgiving and dissolving loans is the easy way out for the government, who will find instant gratification for their penance on behalf of their agricultural department which is now very much in the limelight. But is not the only way out, of this main stream agricultural mess. In its race to development, India forgot its farmers!
Now it’s high time the Indian government stressed proactive focus and resources on-
1.Improving the use of climate information in local planning and strengthening weather-based agro-advisory services.
2.Stimulating varied diversification of rural incomes among the famer population households.
3.Providing large incentives to farmers to adopt natural resource conservation measures to enhance crop growth like relying on sufficient groundwater and also start using renewable energy like solar and windmills which should be provided by the government.
4.Farmers are vulnerable to climate change. Each agro based industry should set by research and development as well as educational institutes for farmers in the very locality the farmers exist. Duration of crop growth cycles and new methods of farming should be adapted. The farmers are the back bone of India, and no quick fix means is going to solve it.
- The Green tribunal should take up the case of farmer suicides, environmental justice implications of climate change should be brought into the limelight.
- Funding gaps reveal a significant oversight in the country’s response to climate change. So does the underfunding of so-called other important development projects in India. India knows that climate change is a threat. We have joined international treaties and are cooperating with global alliances but charity should begin at home.
The scientific consensus that a 2°C rise in temperature, goal set at the Paris conference and ratified in the days leading up to Marrakesh is well established in the Indian environment governmental lobbies, so what’s holding the department from looking within India.
With the expected population growing at an alarming rate, agriculture production might have to triple to meet demand.Some Indian states might be forced to turn parts of their land into other modern production houses, other than farming, and to adopt techniques that would exhaust their soil, in order to earn a livelihood. India, which has not been a big emitter of greenhouse gases, could become one. And that would have a direct impact on the world’s goal of keeping temperature rises below 2°C.
Climate change is already affecting agriculture and will destroy India as an agricultural nation.
[Elsie Gabriel is founder of the Young Environmentalists Programme, certified Green Teacher and award winning author. Expert in environment law, trained by former USA Vice President Al Gore on climate change she is the mentor of climate reality project India. She has been distributing thousands of seeds to rural farmers here to promote self sufficient farming at a domestic level.She has been researching on farmers who come to Mumbai every year as refugees, live among swine and sewage in the abandoned fields. More than suicide, it is mental illnesses, infighting and crime that haunts their tribe specially women and children who get effected. Elsie believes that the central and state government should implement maximum irrigation resources, manage soils for maximum water retention capacity, contour planting, weed management, pest control, conservation village, selecting drought resistant varieties and funds to help pull farmers out of starvation and death. We should call for global funds to solve this climatic catastrophe. }