Climate change and water security concern in agriculture

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Climate change and water security concern in agriculture

  1. 1. CLIMATE CHANGE AND WATER SECURITY CONCERNS IN AGRICULTURE: Submitted By: Sangita Dandekhya Roll no.: 16 (IWRM I/I) 19th July, 2013
  2. 2. ABSTRACT: Climate change and global warming is gaining worldwide concern and threat. And interestingly, there are no any fields or sectors inseparable from it. Climate change and declining water resources threaten food production systems worldwide, increasing the need for efficient agricultural processes and irrigation systems. However, climate change presents major new challenges to the development. It demands a shift to a much less carbon-intensive pattern of economic growth and the incorporation of adaptation measures to help cope with the adverse effects of climate change, including melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and more frequent extreme weather events. While climate change adds new dimensions to all aspects of economic development plans and programs, it will most fundamentally affect the agriculture, irrigation and energy sectors as well as human settlement. Addressing the new challenges imposed by climate change will require collective action by governments, communities, civil society, international organizations, and the private sector. Developing countries will need to build more resilient agriculture sectors and protect food security, alter the way that energy is both generated and used, and understand and respond to the threat of climate-induced migration.
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION: Climate change is conceptually referred to as a modification to the average of climate variables and their natural variability, due to both natural and anthropogenic driving forces, such as greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change potentially impacts rainfall, temperature, and air humidity, which have relationship with plant evapotranspiration and consequently to irrigation water needs (IWN). The purpose is to assess climate change impacts on irrigation water demand, based on climatic impacts stemming from future greenhouse gas emission scenarios. The rising challenges in water security and food production due to climate change faced. As countries are seeking to meet and negotiate binding climate change targets, the contribution that agricultural production makes to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions is being considered by policy makers globally. There is therefore a clear need to find cost- effective ways to address agricultural emissions whilst considering agriculture’s role in supplying food, feed, fuel and fiber. This needs to be done in a way that does not compromise other objectives, such as food security and poverty alleviation, both of which should be considered against the growing global population and the diminishing availability of agriculturally-productive land. At the same time, climate change will have significant impacts on agriculture, calling for an effective adaptation strategy in addition to mitigation policies. The negative effects of global warming, such as heat waves, storms, floods, changes to rainfall pattern, water availability in water stressed areas and soil degradation, have potentially major implications for life essentials, i.e. food, water, land and the environment. Business is committed to playing its role in addressing these major challenges, and many companies worldwide have already taken considerable action.
  4. 4. IMPACT AND CHALLENGES OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN AGRICULTURE: Climate change is threatening food production systems, livelihoods, and the food security of people. More than 80% of our country’s economically active population and their dependents rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. Climate change will intensify the struggle over land and water and increase the risk of resource conflicts. Decreased agricultural production across most of the region will result in higher food prices and lower food consumption, especially among the poor. An increased number of people will be at risk of hunger unless steps are taken to build resilience to climate change. Irrigated agriculture in the region is expected to decline thereby food prices are expected to increase sharply for key crops. The world is experiencing reduced water security for the agriculture sector. Changing climate conditions, including reduced rainfall, are increasing reliance on groundwater resources. Unsustainable groundwater use for food production intensifies the impacts of climate change, and cost-effective adaptation responses are needed to better equip vulnerable agricultural regions. Groundwater is the main source of water supply for many local farmers .Water is often used with inefficient and outdated irrigation techniques. Therefore, it is important to improve and modernize the crop production and adopt more sustainable agricultural methods. AN URGENT NEED FOR MITIGATION: Agriculture is a major source of global greenhouse gas emissions accounting for 13% of global anthropogenic emissions, in particular in the areas of methane and nitrous oxide. Without abatement measures, emissions are likely to climb, among others due to population growth and changing food consumption patterns. In order not to compromise other key challenges, such as global food security, it is essential to look for ―win-win policies‖. Efficiency and cost-effectiveness of measures should be key considerations for policy makers. Emissions reductions should be sought in sectors where abatement is more cost- effective as compared to other sectors. Possible mitigation measures include a wide range of issues, such as improved farming techniques, minimum soil tillage, using ―cleaner‖ energy, carbon sinks, conservation agriculture etc. However, many mitigation options entail additional costs to farmers, calling for cost-effectiveness to be given the highest attention. Innovation will need to play a key role for mitigating emissions from agriculture. Innovation should be defined broadly, i.e. not only related to technology, but also services, farming practices and behavior along the supply chain. In this context, the spread of technology and innovative approaches, including to developing countries, needs to be given the highest attention.
  5. 5. ADAPTATION AND MITIGATION MEASURES: All climate-sensitive systems of society and the natural environment, including agriculture, forestry, water resources, human health, coastal settlements, and natural ecosystems, will need to adapt to a changing climate or possibly face diminished productivity and health. Some degree of future climate change will occur regardless of how stringent future mitigation policies will be. Adapting to or coping with climate change will therefore become necessary in certain regions and for certain socioeconomic and environmental systems. Adaptation options in agriculture can involve a range of actions, such as investment in flood protection, planting different crops, early warning systems, etc. They need to include actions by producers, industry and policy makers. However, adaptation alone is not expected to cope with all the projected effects of climate change, and especially not over the long term as most impacts increase in magnitude. Both mitigation and adaptation will need to be considered. Adaptation to climate change, which is particularly important in many developing countries, is now recognized as a complementary response to mitigation strategies. Particular attention must be paid to the interactions between climate change, energy and water, which are linked in many ways. One must emphasize the importance of the private sector in adaptation. Business investment, know-how and technology will be essential to respond to the challenge of adapting to climate change. Furthermore, business has experience in accounting for risk in long-term planning and investments and could share best practices in this area. Already small changes in climate change can have significant impacts on agricultural productivity. Current variation in crop productivity and yields among different regions, are likely to become greater as the effects of climate change are felt by farmers. Preparing agriculture for adaptation should therefore go hand-in-hand with pro-active mitigation measures. Research is already being carried out in order to develop varieties of crop plants which can successfully grow under conditions of drought stress, water scarcity, heat shock and higher levels of water and soil salinity, as well as being inherently resistant to certain diseases and pests. While conventionally bred crops and currently – available genetically engineered crops, where appropriate, hold the potential to reduce CO2 emissions and the use of tractor fuel, certain crops are being developed to make more efficient use of scarce resources such as water and nutrients. This has the potential to result in more agricultural productivity and contribute to higher yields and better product quality. These would allow farmers to maintain high output even with less water, soil, and energy, thereby contributing to the development of best practices for environmental sustainability.
  6. 6. INNOVATION TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE: In this complex and dynamic scenario, where growing population levels and correspondingly growing demand for food and nutrition must be considered as a crucial aspect, a policy framework that fosters and adequately protects and rewards investment in research, innovation and technology is vital to successfully address the challenges posed by climate change. Innovation will play an essential role in both mitigation of emissions and adaptation to climate change as related to agriculture. Yield-increasing technologies, management practices and approaches can provide a significant contribution to environmental preservation by boosting the productivity of existing land under cultivation, foregoing the need to bring more land into production (i.e. avoid detrimental practices such as deforestation). Innovation and the spread of innovative technologies require among others, open markets, an enabling regulatory framework and the effective protection of intellectual property rights, including strong efforts, and a willingness of governments to adopt effective methods for sharing and disseminating knowledge and best practices, for example, by reinvigorating moribund agricultural extension provision. While not an exhaustive list, the following examples illustrate the importance of innovation for addressing climate change: New crop varieties Investment in new crop varieties to increase tolerance to water and heat stress will be essential. For example, the plant biotechnology sector can play a major part in helping to the negative effects and consequences of climate change, especially with respect to greenhouse gas reduction, crop adaptation, and the protection of and increases in yield. Innovations in the field of nitrogen efficiency and water efficiency could also constitute important new tools for adaptation and mitigation.GM rice and canola plants, which use nitrogen more efficiently, are already available. Crop Protection Protecting yields from weeds, pests and diseases is crucial to maintaining and potentially increasing agricultural productivity. The production of fruit and vegetable crops, vital for healthier global diets, is especially threatened by pest pressure and other climate changerelated effects, such as drought. The responsible use of crop protection products as well as properly- implemented integrated pest management strategies are and will remain important instruments for combating pests and preserving harvests and the global food supply. Plant Nutrients/Fertilisers Appropriate and responsible use of fertilisers and sustainable nutrients can make a contribution to helping plants capture more carbon, fostering higher yields and slowing the decline of soil organic matter. The emissions originating from fertiliser use by farmers shouldbe weighed against the net benefits of using fertilisers to increase agricultural
  7. 7. productivity on the same amount of land, thus reducing the advent of land-use change and increasing the carbon content in soils. In addition, the industry works with farmer organisations to promote the use of fertiliser best management practices to simultaneously reduce emissions, increase soil organic matter and improve yields. Further research should be supported to increase nutrient use efficiency, such as the development of slow- and controlled-release fertilisers. Carbon Sequestration Soil carbon sequestration will be an important mitigation strategy to reduce atmospheric CO2concentrations. The process of transferring atmospheric CO2into soil and biotic pools can enhance soil quality, increase agronomic productivity, improve quality of natural waters, and lower rates of anoxia (decrease in the level of oxygen)or hypoxia (dead water) in coastal ecosystems. Crops developed from biotechnology have a reduced need for ploughing or tillage, thus leading to fewer losses of CO2 which is emitted when soil-carbon is oxidized through exposure to air. Soil Conservation Conservation agriculture techniques such as low or no - till agriculture, made possible through the use of herbicides and herbicide - tolerant biotech crops in appropriate and carefully managed cases, prevents wind and water erosion and loss of ground moisture, improves soil biodiversity, has the potential to increase soil fertility, and reduce carbon emissions. In addition, by limiting soil disturbance and promoting a permanent soil cover, conservation agriculture can contribute to limiting emissions from agriculture by increasing soil carbon content and preventing erosion. Adjustments in Farm Practices: The following soil and crop technologies can increase soil carbon sequestration: No-till (NT) farming with residue mulch and cover cropping; integrated nutrient management (INM), which balances nutrient application with judicious use of organic manures and inorganic fertilisers; various crop rotations (including agro forestry); use of soil amendments (such as zeolites, biochar, or compost); and restoration of degraded or desertified soils, which can be achieved through afforestation and reforestation. In addition, the development of prediction tool models and on-site diagnostics can optimise farm practises by minimising the inputs (fertiliser, water, agrochemicals) and maximising the yield. Adopting Best Production Techniques and New Technologies: The technology and knowledge is available to achieve significant reductions in emissions in natural- gas based ammonia production. For example, by improving the management of operations using best production techniques, one can reduce energy consumption and decrease direct GHG emissions, which carry the largest share of the industry’s emissions.
  8. 8. Insurance Mechanisms: Innovative insurance mechanisms should be explored to compensate rural communities and smallholder farmers in case of emergency. Africa is particularly vulnerable to climate change because of its high proportion of low- input, rain fed agriculture, compared with Asia or Latin America. Exposure to rainfall variability also extends to livestock, which mostly depend on range and grasslands that are affected by environmental shocks, such as climate change. Innovative Water Management: Several steps can be taken to improve water management in the context of climate change and increasing strains on water resources. This will be to the overall benefit of agricultural production. For example, improvements can be made by transferring and implementing irrigation technology (such as localized irrigation systems, sensors to avoid over- irrigation, etc.) and rainwater harvesting, while crop technology to improve crops’ ability to adapt to changing soil moisture conditions and release less water will be essential. At the same time, reaching innovative solutions for water financing and policy - making will be important for sustainable water management, as demonstrated in the comprehensive 2009 analysis carried out under the OECD Horizontal Water Programme. Re- use of urban wastewater and alternative water supplies (e.g. industrial wastewater recycling) for agricultural production can in cases also help to reduce water wastage. Extension A key element in supporting agriculture’s role is capacity building, dissemination of research knowledge and information. Extension programmes were originally conceived as a service to ―extend‖ research-based knowledge to the rural sector in order to improve the lives of farmers. However, extension services are being dismantled or are often ineffective, particularly in developing countries. Extension can help farmers prepare for greater climate variability and uncertainty, create contingency measures to deal with exponentially increasing risk, and alleviate the consequences of climate change by providing advice on how to deal with droughts, floods, and so forth. Extension can also help with mitigation of climate change. This assistance may include providing links to new markets (especially carbon), information about new regulatory structures, and new government priorities and policies. Innovating and re-instating effective extension services will become more important than ever in a changing climate. Intensification of agriculture While reducing agricultural energy intensity is overall desirable, it is important to keep in mind that for some countries, an intensification of agriculture may be more appropriate to avoid other adverse effects. Many developing country agricultural producers, in particular in Africa, see lower yields due to insufficient inputs, including modern farming equipment and fertiliser. Low productivity and poor soil health, if left unchanged, could lead to increased rates of deforestation, and therefore exacerbate rather than mitigate climate change.
  9. 9. Reduced waste of agricultural produce As well as "waste" in the field when yields are reduced by pests, diseases, weeds, climate or weather effects, much agricultural production is lost after harvest during transport or storage or in other parts of the food chain. Investment in technologies that ensure food is not wasted, but can be stored and transported efficiently to the increasingly - urban population of the world, is clearly needed. Investment in developing relatively small-scale low-cost drying, packing, bottling, canning, etc, plants and machineries that can be operated in rural areas where electricity supplies and other infrastructure is not always reliable are needed. This will help ensure that food is not wasted, farmers have reliable markets for relatively high value products and small - scale businesses can be set up and run where they will help revitalize rural areas. More spending on irrigation The demand for water for irrigation is projected to rise in a warmer climate, bringing increased competition between agriculture—already the largest consumer of water resources in semi-arid regions—and urban as well as industrial users. Falling water tables and the resulting increase in the energy needed to pump water will make the practice of irrigation more expensive, particularly when with drier conditions more water will be required per acre. Other strategies will be needed to make the most efficient use of water resources. For example, the International Water Management Institute has suggested five strategies that could help Asia feed its growing population in light of climate change. These are: modernizing existing irrigation schemes to suit modern methods of farming Supporting farmer's efforts to find their own water supplies, by tapping into groundwater in a sustainable way Looking beyond conventional 'Participatory Irrigation Management' schemes, by engaging the private sector Expanding capacity and knowledge Investing outside the irrigation sector
  10. 10. CONCLUSION The country’s main economic activity is agriculture, a climate change fragile activity that employs about 80 percent of the total population. Economy is more vulnerable to climate change adverse impact due to its dependency on climate change sensitive activity (agriculture). Agriculture practice in Nepal mainly depends on the seasonal rainfall on which are dramatically decreasing seasons to seasons. The adverse impacts of climate change in agriculture sectors include reduced crop yield due to drought and floods, reduced water availability, etc. The outcome of climate change in Nepal and its drastic consequence on the production of crops for the entire nations. The climate change is the one responsible for the shifting of the seasonal rainfall, making rainfall amount to come at the time not required, or the plants have already damaged. It is responsible for increased evapo- transpiration in the soil hence making crops fail to reach mature due to lack of enough moisture in the soil hence shortage of food. To the other sides it shows that, rainfall pattern has been decreasing hence make water which is responsible for farming activities to be inadequate hence makes plant fail to develop. One of the mitigation measure presented to overcome climate change is to invest entirely on the irrigation agriculture as seasonal rainfall is inadequately. National policy on agriculture sector should put more emphasis in subsidized agriculture as most farmers are poor. We found that farmers who had difficulty adapting to climatic change may become less vulnerable to drought-related food shortages as the result of increased irrigation and mechanization. At the same time, however, removal of national credit and increased subsidies may enhance adaptation strategies for farmers, leaving them less vulnerable to climate change. Climate change mitigation encompasses the actions being taken, and those that have been proposed, to limit the magnitude and/or rate of long-term global warming induced climate change. Climate change mitigation generally involves reductions in human (anthropogenic) emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs).Mitigation may also be achieved by increasing the capacity of carbon sinks, e.g., through reforestation. By contrast, adaptation to global warming are actions taken to manage the eventual (or unavoidable) impacts of global warming, e.g., by building dikes in response to sea level rise. Examples of mitigation include switching to low-carbon energy sources, such as renewable and nuclear energy, and expanding forests and other "sinks" to remove greater amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Energy efficiency can also play a major role, for example, through improving the insulation of buildings. Another approach to climate change mitigation is geoengineering. Most geoengineering techniques can be organized into two categories. The first category is called solar radiation management, which involves either reducing incoming sunlight, or increasing the reflectivity (Aledo) of the Earth's surface to sunlight. The second category is called carbon dioxide removal, which involves reducing the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, e.g., by increasing the capacity of the oceans to absorb carbon from the atmosphere.
  11. 11. Scientific understanding of geoengineering is limited, and there is the risk of unknown side- effects. The main international treaty on climate change is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In 2010, Parties to the UNFCCC agreed that future global warming should be limited to below 2.0 °C (3.6 °F) relative to the pre- industrial level. Analysis suggests that meeting the 2 °C target would require annual global emissions of greenhouse gases to peak before the year 2020, and decline significantly thereafter, with emissions in 2050 reduced by 30-50% compared to 1990 levels. Analyses by the United Nations Environment Programme and International Energy Agency suggest that current policies (as of 2012) are too weak to achieve the 2 °C target. RECOMMENDED RESPONSE TO CLIMATE CHANGE: Investment needs for agricultural research, irrigation improvements, and climate- resilient rural roads. Complementary investments that will be needed in the education and health sectors. A pro-growth and pro-poor development agenda that supports agricultural sustainability—including better targeting to cope with climate change impacts—will improve both rural welfare and resilience to climate change. National development planning processes should incorporate climate change action plans and, where possible, should access international climate change funds. Despite remaining uncertainty regarding climate change impacts, investment is warranted in research on climate-resilient agriculture, rural infrastructure, and disaster preparedness information systems. Greenhouse gas mitigation strategies for the agriculture sector—covering energy production and use, fugitive emissions control, and carbon sequestration—should be designed with an eye to complementing adaptation measures. Policy focus should be on improving land and water management, protecting ecosystem services, reducing inefficient subsidies, supporting development of carbon markets (and other measures to obtain payment for ecosystem services), and promoting open and transparent trade. Public–private partnership should be formed, particularly to support development of information technologies, market support, and extension services.
  12. 12. REFERENCES: 1 wikipedia 2 Asian Development Bank, Addressing Climate Change in Asia and Pacific:Impact on food fuel and people (http://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/addressing-climate-change.pdf) 3 https://www.google.com.np/search?q=irrigation+and+climate+change+issue 4 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1752-1688.2011.00620.x/abstract 5 http://www.biac.org/statements/agr/FIN09-10_Agriculture_and_Climate-Change.pdf 6 (http://www.adb.org/publications/shanxi-farmers-embrace-modern-irrigation-methods-adapt- climate-change_)

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