New Delhi: Describing climate change as the biggest challenge for agriculture, Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh on Sunday urged farmers to change agricultural practices and cropping patterns.
“I would like to draw your attention to the biggest challenge facing agriculture. That challenge is climate change. Climate change has a direct impact on food production and the poor are the worst hit,” Singh said in a World Food Day message to farmers.
“We have to adapt ourselves to climate change by appropriately changing our agricultural practices and cropping patterns. We also have to be prudent in the use of pesticides and other chemicals because these chemicals are source of greenhouse gas emissions. Obviously, we will have to take care of the nature and the environment while practicing agriculture,” he added.
The minister also said India has been trying to promote climate resilient practices to adapt agriculture to climate change.
“We are also emphasizing on the protection of our indigenous genetic resources, utilization of traditional knowledge and preservation of our agricultural heritage,” he added.
This year, World Food Day, celebrated annually on 16 October, has the theme of “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too.”
Agriculture is one of the sectors affected by climate change, and at the same time also accounts for 24% of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which cause climate change.
As per estimates, global food waste and loss accounts for around 3.3 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.
Studies have estimated that 30-40% of food produced around the world is never eaten, because it is spoiled after harvest and during transportation, or thrown away by shops and consumers.
Earlier this year, a study by Germany-based Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) said that up to 14% of emissions from agriculture in 2050 could be avoided by managing food use and better distribution.
The agriculture minister said in India too large quantities of “food grains and food” are wasted, adding “We should try not to waste even a single grain of food.”