Summary of Panel Discussion
International Growth Centre, London School of Economics and Political Sciences,

online Panel Discussion
Policies and innovations for climate-resilient farming in developing countries

16th February, 230 GMT

NITIE is proud to announce that Prof Vijaya Gupta, Professor of Economics, of NITIE, Mumbai, was invited by Prof Jonathan Leape, Executive Director of IGC, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, as a speaker in the above panel discussion along with Mr Assan Ng'ombe- Resilience Officer at AGRA, South Africa and Prof Kyle Emerick- Associate Professor of Economics at Tufts University.

This event focused on the vital role of agricultural adaptation in response to climate change and as an integral part of sustainable economic development. Panelists discussed the challenges that farmers face in adapting to grow more diverse and climate-resilient crops and some of the solutions that can help overcome them.

The discussion started with the barriers farmers faced in adopting new technology to minimize the impact of climate change. Prof. Vijaya Gupta discussed that based on a micro-level assessment of more than 700 farmers in Bihar, 80 percent of the farmer could perceive and predict climate change and variability (research work of Chandan Jha and Vijaya Gupta). Their adaptation depends on the expected utility from adaptation and the risk of not adapting. The choice of adaptation strategies improves with accurate and timely information on climatic variability, and precise technical details of adaptation strategies can help in precision farming. The adaptation strategies could be on-farm (like crop rotation, changing crop variety, soil, and water conservation), livelihood diversification (migration, leasing land, or changing land use), and financial risk diversification (crop insurance, planting vegetables). In the absence of institutional support mechanisms, including knowledge transfer on agronomic practices through extension services, institutional credit provisions, better price realization through market access, better bargaining in markets, financial insurance against risk, mobile network, adaptation can be challenging. Their adaptation decisions are further challenged by their ability to adapt. She emphasized further that the developing world faces high resource use inefficiencies, particularly land, water, and human resources used in agriculture. To earn a livelihood, farmers migrate due to the pull of economic opportunities and push for adaptation to climate change and poverty alleviation, a possible insurance mechanism to diversify their income. A silver lining is through financial and knowledge remittances and adaptive capacity improvements. The study also found a positive association between adaptation strategies and crop productivity. Also, indigenous knowledge needs to be integrated with climate science. The GoI and many NGOs are promoting indigenous knowledge. 

Economic studies based on micro-assessment at the farm level need to be conducted to establish the feasibility and profitability of innovative and scientific adaptation methods.  Early warning systems, Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), big data analytics, remote sensing, GPS, and software to guide end-to-end agricultural operations are a few innovations in agriculture and water conservation fields.

The climate-smart and integrated agriculture, including livestock and forestry, with a triple win strategy of increased productivity, enhanced resilience, and reduced emissions to make the farming community climate-resilient are the needs of the hour.  Mitigating carbon in the agriculture sector is equally important in the future as the sector's proportionate contribution in total GHGs emission becomes relatively higher than other sectors, and carbon tax needs to be imposed beside other measures.

Mr. Assan discussed the challenges faced by African farmers in times of climate change. He addressed the strength and development of new policies where the youth of the country and the educational system need to focus. Prof. Kyle emphasized the migration of the people and gender equality. Throughout this discussion and Q&A session, the panelists focused on critical issues like adapting the new technology, increasing the efficiency and productivity of the farm, and climate-smart agriculture.

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