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Climate change, agricultural production and starvation
5/27/2022 11:24:45 PM

Vijay Garg

Globally, climate change is affecting almost everything. But this disorder seems to be having a devastating effect on our food systems, from the way we produce food to the way we consume it. This simply means that countries that are directly and indirectly dependent on agriculture and food production are suffering the worst effects of these disasters and will suffer even more in the future. It is also important to note that rich countries and rich people play a major role in aggravating climate change, but poor countries and poor people are paying a heavy price. The kind of development that has taken place in the world in recent times has directly caused climate change. Natural resources are being overused or misused for development worldwide. This has polluted rivers, oceans, other water sources and air, as well as large-scale deforestation and agricultural practices that have polluted the environment. India too has not been spared from climate change and these changes have polluted water, air and other natural resources.
India is an agriculturally oriented, large and growing economy with the world’s second largest arable land. Agriculture is the largest source of livelihood for the Indian people and contributes significantly to the country’s GDP. Before independence and at the time of independence, the country was one of the most food insecure countries in the world. Despite this, the lack of access to nutritious and quality food for children, women and the poor in the country has led to health problems. India has one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the world, and food security is not guaranteed for a large number of the extremely poor. In the midst of all this, the widespread adverse effects of climate change will exacerbate these symptoms and create barriers to more sustainable and equitable food distribution systems. In this context, one should look at the Global Food Policy Report 2022 of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to assess the effects of climate change in the country, especially the decline in production of agricultural commodities, the state of hunger and mitigation of these effects. Is to understand the changing situation.
According to the report, the agricultural sector and agricultural commodity production are being adversely affected by climate change. These include decrease in soil fertility, decrease in productivity of agricultural produce, increased risk of pests and their invasive species, depletion and depletion of groundwater and conversion of agricultural land for commercial consumption. Are The report estimates that global food production will decline by 8 percent by 2050. India’s total food production is projected to decline by 16 per cent, the highest in the South Asian region. Elsewhere, production is expected to fall by 34 per cent for the United States, 18 per cent for Australia, 17 per cent for Japan, 7 per cent for Britain and 5 per cent for China. These figures clearly show that in the near future, declining agricultural production will undermine food security in the world, especially in the poorest and poorest countries. In such a scenario, it is only natural that traders and corporate houses should not hesitate to hoard and black market agricultural commodities. As a result, there will be an increase in the number of people on the brink of starvation worldwide.
It is estimated that by 2030, about 65 million more people worldwide will be at risk of starvation due to climate change. South Asia, including India, has the highest number of people at risk of global climate change-induced starvation. In our country, about 17 million more people from all over the world will be on the brink of starvation, in the second place, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an additional 4.8 million people will be at risk of starvation. If climate change does not occur by 2030, the number of people on the brink of starvation in India will be 7.39 crore and it will be reduced to 4.5 crore by 2050. If climate change continues like this, the number of people on the brink of starvation in India will reach 9.06 crore by 2030. It is clear that climate change could lead to changes in global food production. At the same time, the effects of climate change are long lasting. If the adverse effects of climate change are not addressed, it will put millions of people, especially the poor, at risk of starvation and death.
The report identifies some of the major causes of climate change and suggests ways to remedy them. Major factors affecting climate change include rise in moderate to extreme temperatures and high probability of continuation of this trend, high melting rate in Himalayan glaciers, increase in temperature and catastrophic monsoon rains due to increased average rainfall. These risks of climate change are expected to increase in the future. According to the report, the average temperature across India is expected to rise between 2.4 degree Celsius and 4.4 degree Celsius by 2100. Similarly, heat waves in India are projected to triple or quadruple by 2100.
After studying these effects of climate change, the report also proposes some mitigation measures. The most important solution is to adopt crop diversification. In agriculture, it is advisable to plant crops that do not adversely affect the climate. At the same time, public investment in agricultural research and development should be increased. It is pertinent to mention here that public investment in agriculture in India is negligible, it needs time to increase.
Agricultural mechanization and soil moisture management should be adopted on an immediate basis. Reforms should be initiated in fertilizer subsidies, energy policy and agricultural subsidy methods.
New institutions need time to ensure proper governance of the food system and it is important to take advantage of the flexibility demonstrated by agricultural food systems during epidemics and make the sector more inclusive, sustainable and resilient.
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