Feeding India in a Changing Climate: Political Economy of Rice Cultivation
India is the second largest producer of rice globally and has a major influence on the country’s water, food, and energy security. Rice cultivation also contributes to the greenhouse effect primarily through the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide. In this study, we have assessed India’s interconnected water-energy-food-climate challenges of rice cultivation and its political economy. Three levels of analysis have been conducted in the study:
- The level of GHG emissions related to rice production in India and the sources that are contributing to these emissions.
- An assessment of Input and Output agricultural policies related to food grain production and procurement.
- Policy recommendations to reduce emissions for agriculture sector of India
The study found that although the food grain cultivation is important to India, the inefficient prices and markets of fertilizers, energy and water resources are a significant cause for the unsustainable water use and increased emissions. Energy policies facilitate free or subsidised electricity to farmers. Despite restricted, inefficient, and inadequate power supply and problems of electricity pilferages, operation of pumps continues. Technical and regulatory capacity at the sub-national level remains weak and ineffective. Minimum support prices and procurement policies have encouraged the cultivation of water-intensive crops such as rice in regions not suitable for such crops and dissuaded farmers from crop diversification and planting of other water-efficient crops such as maize.
Indian Agriculture: Degrading Land, Water, and Air; Costs of Action and Inaction
The objective of the study was to understand agriculture’s long-term viability, productivity, and profitability, emphasizing the three resources of land, water, and air. Each of the studies focuses on the degradation of these natural resources due to agriculture and in turn their impact on agriculture. Following the assessments of each of these recourses, we evaluate their cost of action and inaction in the broader framework of how to use these resources more efficiently and sustainably.
Some of the key activities and deliverables under this project include the preparation of three reports: Land Degradation and its Costs in Agriculture: Productivity and Profitability for Agriculture Sustainability (forthcoming); Degradation of Air Quality due to Agriculture in India: Assessment, Prospects, and the Costs (forthcoming); Water Resources Degradation due to Agriculture: Extent, Efforts and the Economics in India (forthcoming).