UPPCS GS Foundation Live Online Course | 6 DecemberCall Us
This just in:

State PCS

Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. Discuss the causes of high GHG emissions from the agriculture sector and the steps that can be taken to minimise the emissions. (250 Words)

    01 Apr, 2022 GS Paper 3 Bio-diversity & Environment


    • Start the answer by explaining, with data, a link between agriculture and GHG emission.
    • Discuss the causes of high GHG emission from the agriculture sector.
    • Discuss steps that can be taken to minimise the GHG emissions.


    Agriculture sector contributes 73% of the country’s methane emissions, the Budget announcements have been rather limited. Agricultural and allied activities such as rice cultivation, rearing of domestic animals and biomass burning account for 22%-46% of the global methane concentration.


    Causes of High GHG emission from Agriculture sector

    • The damage is largely a result of the various kinds of subsidies — on urea, canal irrigation and power for irrigation.
    • The Minimum Support Prices (MSP) and procurement policies concentrated on a few states and largely on two crops, rice, and wheat has led to their overproduction.
      • As of 1 January 2022, the stocks of wheat and rice in the country’s central pool were four times higher than the buffer stocking requirement.
      • Despite the record distribution of rice in the Public Distribution System (PDS) and exports in 2020-21, the rice stocks with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) are seven times the buffer norms for rice.
      • This data not only reflects inefficient use of scarce capital, but also the large amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) embedded in these stocks.
    • The GHG emissions in agricultural production are also related to :
      • Emissions due to burning rice residues
      • Application of fertilisers
      • Production of fertilisers for rice
      • Energy operations like harvesting
      • Pumps
      • Processing
      • Transportation

    Steps that can be taken to reduce GHG emission from Agriculture-

    • Revisiting Policies: The Economic Survey 2021-22 points out that the country is over-exploiting its ground water resource, particularly in the northwest and some parts of south India which is primarily due to paddy cultivation on 44 million hectares.
      • Although this has helped India achieve food security, it's time now to save groundwater and the environment.
      • This calls for revisiting policies to subsidise power and fertilisers, MSP and procurement and reorient them towards minimising GHG emissions.
    • Three-Pronged Approach for GHG Emissions: Studies pointed out that India has the potential to cut 18% of its annual greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture and livestock sector.
      • The study estimated that 50% of this reduction could be achieved by implementing these three measures:
        • Efficient use of fertiliser
        • Adoption of zero-tillage
        • Management of water used to irrigate paddy
    • Encouraging Farmers: Farmer groups and the private sector can be mobilised to develop carbon markets in agriculture, both at the national and international levels.
      • Moreover, specific water, fertiliser and soil management practises can lead to triple win - reducing the climate impacts of rice cultivation while increasing productivity of this culturally important grain and increasing farmer profits.
        • Such a move will give India a “climate smart” agriculture in Amrit Kaal.
      • Also, if we can protect productivity levels with a low-carbon footprint, it will help India to access global markets too.
    • Carbon Pricing: According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the world needs a carbon tax of $75 per tonne by 2030 to reduce emissions to a level consistent with a 2℃ warming target.
    • Increasing Farmer Awareness: The right approach is to give the rice-producing-farmers the right advice and incentives at the right time so that they add only as much water or fertilisers as the rice plant needs.
      • Rice farming shall be made more sustainable, without having a negative impact on farmers livelihood.

    To get PDF version, Please click on "Print PDF" button.

    Print PDF
SMS Alerts
Share Page