South Asia Parliamentarians & Policy
maker at work
FOOD SECURITY IN THE REGION
December 17, 2013
Agriculture plays a central role in South Asian economies,
lives, and livelihoods.
Climate change will have significant impacts on agricultural
production in the region
International community act with utmost urgency to reduce
global emissions and hence lessen the impacts that will be
Climate change policies must be developed at national,
regional, and global levels to address the serious near-term
Steps must be taken to protect lives and livelihoods dependent
on that production, through both adaptation efforts and
approaches to address loss and damage
The average size of holdings in Bangladesh is only 0.5 hectares,
and small farms account for 96% of operational holdings.
In India, about 81% of holdings are less than 2 hectares in size,
with an average size of 1.4 hectares.
The majority of India’s poor (some 70%) are found in rural
areas; in Sri Lanka the rural poor account for 95% of the
The average size of holdings in Sri Lanka is 0.8 hectares.
The average size of holdings in Nepal is 0.8 hectares, with nearly
half less than 0.5 hectare; 93% of holdings in the country are
operated by small farmers.
Agriculture’s role in South Asian
The average size of Pakistani landholding is 3.0 hectares, with
58% of farms less than 2 hectares in size. However, less than
half of rural households own agricultural land.
The average farm size in Bhutan is a little over 1 hectare; women
own 70% of the land.
In Afghanistan, 68 % of households own some kind of livestock.
For most Afghan farmers, animals are the only source for power
for cultivation and transport.
% labor force in agriculture
% population living in
(as % of total GDP)
Over 75 %
(fisheries 4.4% of GDP)
(fisheries 1.1% of GDP)
(30% in fisheries)
(fisheries 15% of GDP)
(fisheries 1.7% of GDP)
Workforce engaged in agriculture…
Impacts on agriculture
Effect on agriculture will vary according to locality, but models
project a 15-30 % decline in the productivity of most cereals and
rice across the region.
With 2-4 C° temperature increase rice yields are expected to
decline by 0,75 tons/ha.
The overall crop yields are expected to decrease up to 30% in the
region by mid-21 century.
Negative impacts are expected in the arid zones and flood
affected areas, where agriculture is already at the edge of climate
Irrigation demand for agriculture in arid and semi-arid regions is
likely to increase by 10% for temperature increase by 1%.
A great amount of uncertainty still characterizes what is known
about climate impacts on agriculture.
Other allied sector…
It is still difficult predict exact magnitudes and impacts of, extreme high
temperatures, extreme rainfall, increased seasonality
Increased salinity in coastal areas as a result of rising seas and reduced
discharge of major rivers; weakening ecosystems;
Rainfall patterns will change. As the atmosphere holds more moisture,
heavy rain events will increase. Distribution of rainfall over the year will
It is clear that livestock and fisheries will also suffer significant impacts.
Raising livestock and catching fish will also be challenged by a new
Pastures are expected to decrease in quality, with increased
temperatures forcing the grasses to become more fibrous and less
Food and nutrition security
impacts on yields will result in price increases for the most
important agricultural crops
higher feed prices will result in higher meat prices; and
calorie availability will decline relative to 2000 levels throughout
the developing world.
Extreme events regularly cause migration and forced
displacement of people from homes and communities.
Crop losses and failures due to extreme events and slow onset
temperature rise will lead to additional displacements.
Sea level rise and inundation of low-lying regions will cause
further migration of agricultural producers.
Increased migration and displacement of agricultural producers
has implications for national food security
Consequences of climate impacts
Consequences of climate impacts
As extreme heat events increase in frequency and water supplies
diminish, major staple crops such as wheat, rice, and maize may no
longer be suitable for huge growing areas in the South Asia region
The question of mitigation
Agriculture globally is responsible for 12-14% of greenhouse
gas emissions, directly from the use of fertilizers, rice
cultivation, and animal husbandry.
Another 17% or so of emissions are due to deforestation and
other land-use change, much of which is land clearance for
Addressing climate change requires that emissions reductions
in the agriculture sector must be undertaken.
But by whom, and where?
And how should the need to produce food and provide
livelihoods be factored into decisions on who is responsible for
Addressing climate impacts, loss and damage in
An international mechanism are needed to address loss and
damage and slow onset impacts on agriculture
Significantly raise the level of investment in sustainable
agriculture and food systems
Agriculture adaptation “technologies” to be developed and
shared in the region
SAARC should demand sufficient funding of the adaptation
window of the Green Climate Fund
Collective investments for food security
Agriculture as central sector in NAPAs and NAPs and
adaptation planning processes, clear priorities can focus
donor resources, climate finance, and national spending.
Develop and implement research agenda on climateresilient practices in South Asia, focusing on agroecological
Enhance collaboration and data sharing between agrometeorological stations and support development of a
regional early warning system for extreme climate events.
Establish robust emergency food reserves and a financing
capacity that can deliver rapid humanitarian responses to
vulnerable populations threatened by food crises.
Prioritize addressing impacts on poorest, most vulnerable and marginalized
communities, including smallholders and the landless.
National planning that is informed by bottom-up vulnerability assessment in
order to create an enabling environment for adaptation.
Increase investment in ecological agriculture and farmer-to-farmer
exchanges of knowledge
Invest in communities’ ability to shape, create, and respond to change by
building adaptive capacity, including through providing support for
community-based adaptation strategies
Identify livelihood diversification options
Manage climate risks and reduce vulnerabilities in the agriculture sector
Protective safety nets for most vulnerable to protect from climate shocks and
to increase food security
National: sound adaptation and mitigation policies