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CLIMATE CRISIS and MARGINAL FARMERS



  Jun 27, 2024

CLIMATE CRISIS and MARGINAL FARMERS



Key Points Overview

How are marginal farmers affected by extreme weather conditions?

More than 50% of marginal farmers in India reported losing at least half of their standing crops due to extreme weather events such as unseasonal rains, prolonged winters, droughts, and floods. These events have consistently impacted crops like paddy and wheat, leading to significant income losses.

What is the definition of a marginal farmer?

A marginal farmer is defined as someone who owns up to 1 hectare of agricultural land and engages in farming activities as a proprietor, sharecropper, or tenant. Marginal farmers constitute the largest segment of India’s agricultural sector but own only about 24% of the crop area, with an average per capita holding of 0.38 hectares.

What were the key findings of the survey on marginal farmers?

The survey found that over the past five years, a higher proportion of marginal farmers have lost at least one-third to half of their crops due to extreme weather. Approximately 50% of paddy farmers and over 40% of wheat farmers consistently lost more than half of their crops. The average income loss for marginal farmers growing only paddy was around 72% for those with 0.38 hectares of land.

How do government initiatives support marginal farmers?

The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) plays a crucial role in promoting agricultural resilience and economic stability, with around 35% of surveyed marginal farmers enrolled in the scheme. Additionally, 83% of marginal farmers received government grants or subsidies, primarily through the Kisan Samman Nidhi, directly in their bank accounts.

What challenges do marginal farmers face in accessing agricultural infrastructure?

• Cold Storage Facilities: 69% of marginal farmers reported the absence of cold storage facilities within a 10 km radius of their village, while 15% had access but never used them.
• Subsidized Inputs: Nearly half of the marginal farmers confirmed the availability of outlets within 10 km for procuring subsidized seeds and fertilizers.
• Bank Loans: 27% of surveyed marginal farmers confirmed that someone in their household had accessed bank loans in the past.

What solutions were proposed to mitigate the impact of extreme weather on agriculture?

The study suggested a two-pronged strategy for water management:

• Buffering Water: Store water in reservoirs during the monsoon season.
• Groundwater Recharge: Recharge groundwater through check dams and watersheds.
Additionally, the study recommended more rational allocation and efficient use of water across different crops to improve agricultural resilience.

Conclusion

Extreme weather conditions are significantly affecting marginal farmers in India, leading to substantial crop and income losses. Implementing effective water management strategies and enhancing access to agricultural infrastructure and government support can mitigate these impacts and promote agricultural resilience.


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