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Make agriculture more competitive to address climate change: Pawar

June 8, 2011 - New Delhi

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Wednesday said agriculture has to become more competitive, efficient, and profitable and develop mechanism to reduce its vulnerability to climate change.

Addressing the Parliamentary Consultative Committee Meeting of Agriculture here, Pawar said: "Indian farmers, scientists and policy-makers have to address these issues in totality and develop strategies to increase adaptive capacity."

"We now need to put more emphasis on anticipatory adaptation measures specially 'no regret' adaptation strategies that will allow attainment of sustainable development goals even if there is no climatic change or its magnitude is different from current projections," he added.

Pawar said that a key requirement is to substantially increase the capital investment in agriculture, which has been continuously going down in last few years.

"Investment in irrigation infrastructure, silos for food and feed, timely implementation of contingency planning, rural roads and power could enhance agriculture's resilience to climatic extremes, he added.

The Minister said that establishment of early warning systems of climatic risks, disease and pests could help in determining the potential food insecure areas and communities and in providing assistance to policy planners in arranging relief.

"Focused agricultural research on development of more adaptive varieties of crops, livestock and fish in future climate and development of water and carbon conservation practices will also be useful," he added.

Pawar said that the ICAR has launched a large networked project named National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture to enhance the resilience of Indian Agriculture and demonstrate site-specific technology package on farmers' fields for adapting to current climate risks.

He said that under Prime Minister's National Plan on Climate Change, 8 National Missions are being launched on climate change and National Mission of Sustainable Agriculture is one of them.

Activities under these missions will give further impetus to government's efforts to face the challenges posed by climate change, he informed.


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