NITI Aayog, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (MoA&FW), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations have recently launched the ‘Investment Forum for Advancing Climate Resilient Agrifood Systems in India’.
The forum aims to develop a strategy for investment and partnership to enhance climate-resilient agri-food systems in India, involving the government, private sectors, farmers' organizations, and financial institutions.
NITI Aayog highlights agriculture's contribution to climate change
Prof Ramesh Chand, Member of NITI Aayog, highlighted the need for awareness of agriculture's contribution to climate change, which accounts for over 13% of India's total greenhouse gas emissions.
He emphasized the potential of agriculture in carbon sequestration through tree plantation on farmland and called for a new direction in the economic analysis of agricultural production.
Emphasis on multi-stakeholder approach and small farmers
Manoj Ahuja, Secretary of MoA&FW, underscored the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach in tackling climate challenges in India. He stressed the need to focus on the perspectives of small and marginal farmers, who make up 85% of the farming population.
The approach should consider the spatial and temporal distribution of climate patterns and the necessity for localized responses, he said.
Shombi Sharp, the UN Resident Coordinator in India, pointed out the interlinkage between the financial crisis and the food crisis. He noted that with a predicted 50% increase in food demand by 2050, scaling up investments in climate resilience in agriculture is crucial for ensuring that future generations have sufficient resources to produce enough food.
The forum's objectives
The forum facilitated discussions on six key areas: climate-resilient agriculture, digital infrastructure, financing climate-resilient agri-food systems, climate-resilient value chains, production practices for climate resilience, and gender mainstreaming for climate resilience.
The meeting saw participation from nearly 200 attendees, including senior representatives from various government bodies, NABARD, ICAR, ICRISAT, MANAGE, the World Bank, IFPRI, the European Union delegation, International Finance Cooperation, and UN agencies.
The need for larger investments
The forum highlighted the profound implications of climate change on India, especially its rural population dependent on climate-sensitive agricultural livelihoods. It emphasized the need for larger investments from global climate finance, domestic budgets, and the private sector.
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