ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Weather Uncertainties and the Strategy to Raise Farmers’ Income

In India, rising weather uncertainty has caused large-scale damage to crops in the last two years. In order to lower such risks, the cultivation pattern should move away from highly intensive input usage towards low-risk optimal input usage wherein a reasonably good level of overall crop production and returns per acre could be generated. The analysis based on unit-wise household data of farmers during 2018–19 shows that only 1% of farmers use optimal inputs. By shifting cultivation towards optimal input usage pattern, the revenue could be increased by 70% and the average income of the farmers by 90%.

This article is a result of the work done by Jatinder S Bedi on organic cotton and precision cotton cultivation for Gherzi Consulting Engineers Private Limited.

Weather uncertainties have severely affected the foodgrain production in India in the last two agriculture years, that is, from 2021–22 to 2022–23. The above normal temperature in March 2022 resulted in a 5.7% decline in wheat production during 2021–22 compared to the initial government target of 111.32 million tonnes. The production this year is going to be more severely affected as the high temperature in March 2023 was followed by heavy rainfall spread across various parts of the country. This decline in crop production coupled with a rise in the allocations to households under the public distribution system after COVID-19 has resulted in a large depletion of buffer food stocks in India, which during 2020–21 was 3.5 times higher compared to recommended buffer food stocks.

Thus, the food security and uncertainty in farmers’ income have assumed importance in the recent years, while the focus of pro-market economists two years ago was on the piling foodgrain buffer stocks and high cost associated with it. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its Sixth Assessment Report, 2022 has identified India as one of the most vulnerable countries from a food security point of view with increasing uncertainties in weather, crop production and income of the farmers. India is ranked 68th out of 113 major countries in terms of the food security index 2022, having one-fourth of the world’s undernourished population.

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Updated On : 17th Jul, 2023
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