Throw light on the contribution of agriculture to GHG emissions. Suggest measures that can be undertaken to address the challenges in reducing agriculture’s carbon footprint in India.
Agriculture is the mainstay of the Indian Economy. With climate change, there is an increased need for scrutiny of agriculture as a source of Greenhouse gas emissions.
GHG Emissions from Agriculture:
- Methane – Rice cultivation by flooding the fields is a major source of methane emissions.
- The use of fertilizers (primarily nitrogenous ones like urea) leads to the emission of harmful nitrous oxide.
- Stubble burning leads to the release of carbon dioxide, Black carbon, particulate matter, etc.
- Huge diesel generators used for groundwater extraction also add to GHG emissions.
Measures need to be taken:
- To reduce rice-based methane emission:
- Promote direct seeding of rice which does not require field flooding.
- Promote crop diversification.
- Encourage organic farming and zero-budget natural farming to reduce fertilizer usage.
- Promote bio-decomposition of stubble like Pusa biodecomposer technology used in Delhi.
- Instead of burning stubble, use the “Swedish Torrefaction” technique to convert it to biochar.
- Solarize the diesel pumps via the PM-Kusum scheme. This will reduce diesel generator-related emissions.
Holistic steps can ensure the de-carbonization of the entire agricultural value chain.