Decarbonization Agriculture in India: Current State and Way Forward


India is the third-highest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter behind China and the United States. India’s farm sector accounts for 14% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions, preceded by electricity (44%) and the construction sector (18%). 


GHG Emissions Caused by the Agriculture Sector in India

Indian rice fields and their substantial livestock population are the primary causes of methane release. India has the largest population of bovine animals (cattle and buffalo) at 625 million heads. 54.6 per cent of GHG emissions were due to enteric fermentation and 6.7 per cent from poor manure management. India is the world’s largest rice producer by area, estimated at 44.0 million hectares. This constitutes about 7.5 per cent of GHG emissions. 


Current status of Sustainable Agricultural Practices in India

Agriculture is an important sector of the Indian economy, contributing about 20% of the national GDP. The changes in climatic events such as temperature, rainfall and atmospheric carbon dioxide can significantly affect crop yields. Consequently, the livelihoods of nearly two-thirds of the population that directly depend on farming for their survival. 


As the global population continues to surge, developing countries will need to double food production by 2050. Scientists and policymakers are faced with the challenge of meeting the growing demand for food whilst also reining in on GHG emissions. Farmers’ adoption of technology and practices that are considerate of environmental impact would depend on striking a balance between increased crop productivity and sustainable agricultural practices.


Among others, the following were the most prevalent Sustainable Agricultural Systems in India:



Sustainable Agricultural Practice

What is it?

Area Under Practice (million ha)

Scale of Adoption

(number of farmers in millions)

Benefits

Challenges

Agroforestry 

Trees or shrubs are grown among crops or pastureland

25 million ha

<5 million farmers


. Carbon Sequestration 


. Additional income from the diversified livelihood sources (timber, fuelwood, and fodder)  

. Lack of capital for the initial investment


. Long gestation period


. Government forest rules

Organic Farming

Prohibits the use of synthetically produced agro-inputs (fertilisers and pesticides). Instead, it relies on organic material (such as crop residues, animal residues, legumes, and bio-pesticides) for maintaining soil productivity and fertility

2.8 million ha

1.9 million registered and certified farmers

. Reduces soil erosion


. Decreases nitrate leaching into ground and surface water


. Discourages algal blooms

. Lack of assured market support 


. Women in organic farming face additional workload

Precision Farming

Uses information technology to ensure that the crops and soil receive exactly what they need to maximise long-term benefits and prevent waste

9.2 million ha  

3 million farmers

. Saves resources


. Saves energy


. Highly technical


. Adoption is slower in the rainfed areas due to resource constraints, apprehension of reduced yields, and hi-tech averseness


. Women farmers hesitate in approaching service providers or hiring male contractors

System of rice intensification

A climate-smart agroecological approach for increasing rice and other crops’ productivity by changing the management of the plant, soil, water, and nutrients.

 

SRI is based on four main principles that interact with each other:

(i) early, quick, and healthy plant establishment

(ii) reduced plant density

(iii) improved soil conditions through enhancing soil organic matter

(iv) reduced and controlled water application

3 million ha

>3 million farmers

. Saves irrigation water


. Reduce pests and diseases


. Reduced labor costs and higher income

Precision levelling of fields


. Construction of water delivery and control

structures at canals


Crop rotation

The practice of planting two or more crops sequentially on the same plot of land to improve soil health, optimise nutrients, and combat pest and weed pressure

30 million ha

15 million farmers 

. Increase nutrients for crops


. Improves soil health


. Limits concentration of pests, diseases and weeds

. Labor intensive 





How can Yuktix help?

Yuktix is an Agritech company creating technical solutions to improve the yield and productivity of Indian farms using IoT and AI. The Yuktix GidaBits® platform addresses the need to increase efficiency and enables sustainable agricultural practices based on remote sensing technologies.


Disease and Pest Management: The system combines pathogen incubation cycle and weather forecast with indigenous knowledge of disease indicators and assigns the probability of disease onset. It serves as an effective early warning system by ensuring timely intervention to avoid crop losses.


Smart Irrigation: It helps farmers determine the irrigation schedule (when to irrigate and how much water to apply). This can optimise plant growth, crop yield, crop quality, nutrient management, root zone health, and irrigation decisions.


Crop POP (Package of Practices): The platform contains Ideal crop practices through every stage of the crop cycle - from the planting of saplings to the harvesting stage.


Real-time Monitoring and Alarms: Yuktix Weather Stations provide real-time weather information at the farm level. It measures field parameters through various sensors such as - wind speed & direction, rainfall, solar radiation, light intensity, temperature, humidity, pressure, soil moisture and temperature and leaf wetness.  It enables sustainable agriculture practices, urban resilience and climate studies.


Yuktix GidaBits® has helped farmers adopt climate-smart and regenerative

agriculture practices which have resulted in:

  • Production increase of approximately 30% per hectare basis leading to the income boost

  • 30%-50% water savings in semi-arid and drought-prone areas like Northern Karnataka.

  • 20% reduction in the usage of pesticide 

  • 25% increase in production due to POP recommendations

  • 20% decrease in loss due to pest and disease attacks due to EWS and disease management

  • INR 20,000 worth of Crop Expert consultation during a season

  • Helped farmers adopt climate-smart and sustainable agriculture practices


Yuktix Device in a Guava Plantation




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