Is conservation agriculture both money and climate smart? Some examples from North-Western Indo-Gangetic Plain - 2013 - 2 pages
Recently, there has been considerable effort to make agricultural production climate friendly and many innovations are coming out. Conservation agriculture (CA), defined as minimal soil disturbance and permanent soil cover combined with efficient and profitable rotations, is one of the strategies for adaptation to as well as mitigation of climate change in agriculture. However, scientific knowledge on the economic and environmental impact of conservation agriculture is still scanty and scattered. We conducted farmers? participatory experiments involving no-tillage with and without previous crop residues and conventional tillage for wheat production in four district of Haryana, India for three consecutive years (2009-10 to 2011-12). To evaluate the climate change mitigation potential, we used information on input use, crop management practices such as changes in tillage system, use of cover crop, compost, manure and residue as well as farm energy consumption to estimate emission of greenhouse gases (CO2, N2O and CH4) from both production scenarios. For economic analysis, the amount of various inputs applied and output harvested were multiplied by respective market and minimum support prices. Results show that in addition to economic benefits, no-tillage based wheat production also has climate change mitigation benefits implying a possibility of win-win outcome for sustainable food and environmental security. However, farmers may not be interested in climate change benefits and motivated mostly by the yield enhancing and economic benefits for adopting the technologies. Hence, further research for development involving wider range of farmers, production systems and ecologies is necessary to demonstrate these benefits to farmers. Under the aegis of CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, we have intensified these efforts so as to create awareness among the range of stakeholders including policy planners.