Agri Business

Small farmers deprived of climate finance: Report

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on November 19, 2020

Ramesh Barap and other farmers in Palghar are not much aware of climate change and any effort by the government to mitigate it. Nature’s vagaries are frequent now, and there is a cycle of unseasonal rains and droughts, they say. Like other parts of the State, farmers here have to knock at the government’s doors to get compensation for crops damaged in natural disasters. While some get help others are left high and dry.

Maharashtra farmers are not an exception. Only 1.7 per cent of climate finance — a fraction of what is needed — goes to small-scale farmers in developing countries despite their disproportionate vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, according to a recent report released by the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Climate Policy Initiative (CPI).

The report adds that small-scale agriculturists encounter a number of challenges in accessing the funds they need.

According to the report, India’s governmental support for agriculture was estimated in the early 2010s at $85 billion per year, of which only around $3 billion directed to the soil, water conservation, forestry, and wildlife.

“Farming is becoming more and more difficult for small farmers like me. Uncertainty prevails all the time and we don’t know when it will rain and when there will be drought. Climate change or nature’s wrath, whatever it is, it affects small and poor farmers,” says Shrikant Belekar, a farmer from Nipani in Karnataka.

There are around 21.6 crore small and marginal farmers (or 4.3 crore families) who actually are reeling under distress due to cycles of unseasonal rains and droughts.

The “Assessment of Climate Change over Indian Region” report published by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) mentions that since the middle of the twentieth century, India has witnessed a rise in average temperature; a decrease in monsoon precipitation; a rise in extreme temperature and rainfall events, droughts, and sea levels; and an increase in the intensity of severe cyclones, alongside other changes in the monsoon system.

According to the Ministry of Environment, “India’s action on climate change is guided by the National Action Plan on Climate Change, which is operationalised through eight missions each having its own budget and action plan. Hence, a separate fund for climate action has not been found to be necessary”.

Published on November 19, 2020

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