Climate change could adversely affect farmers income by up to 20-25 % in the medium term, the Economic Surveywarned and suggested the need for “dramatic” improvement in irrigation, use of new technologies and better targeting of power and fertiliser subsidies.
The Survey also recommended “radical follow-up action” to achieve the government’s objective of addressing agricultural stress and doubling farmers’ income
Since agriculture is a state subject and an open political economy question, the Survey strongly advocated a mechanism similar to the GST Council to bring more reforms in the agriculture sector and boost farmers income.
“Climate change — whose imprint on Indian agriculture is already visible — might reduce farm incomes by up to 20-25 % in the medium term,” the Survey for 2017-18 said.
Climate change could reduce annual farm incomes in the range of 15-18 per cent on average, and up to 20-25 % for unirrigated areas, it said.
At current levels of farm income, that translates into more than Rs 3,600 per year for the median farm household, the survey estimated.
“Minimising susceptibility to climate change requires drastically extending irrigation via efficient drip and sprinkler technologies, and replacing untargeted subsidies in power and fertiliser by direct income support,” the Survey said, while calling for review of cereal-centric farm policy.