Agricultural Emissions and Climate Smart Agriculture

In this article we will discuss Agricultural Emissions and Climate Smart Agriculture

In this article, we will discuss Agricultural Emissions and Climate Smart Agriculture. So, let’s get started.

Agricultural Emissions and Climate Smart Agriculture

Share of Agricultural Emissions

  • As per the national GHG inventory, the agriculture sector emits 408 MMT (million metric ton) of CO2 equivalent.
  • Rice cultivation is the third highest source (17.5%) of GHG emissions in Indian agriculture after enteric fermentation (54.6%) and fertiliser use (19%).
  • Paddy fields are anthropogenic sources of atmospheric nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4), which have been reckoned as 273 and 80-83 times more powerful than CO2 in driving temperature increase in 20 years’ (as per IPCC AR6, 2021).
  • The amount of CH4 emitted from paddy fields of India is 3.396 teragram (1 teragram = 109 kilograms) per year or 71.32 MMT CO2 equivalent.

High Agricultural Emissions

  • 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.

Underlying Issues

  • There is scientific evidence that intermittent flooding reduces water and methane emissions but increases nitrous oxide emissions.
  • Thus, lowering of methane emissions through controlled irrigation does not necessarily mean net low emissions.
  • Also, India does not report N2O emissions in its national GHG inventories.
  • The GHG emissions in rice production do not include:
  • Emissions due to burning rice residues
  • Application of fertilisers
  • Production of fertilisers for rice
  • Energy operations like harvesting
  • Pumps
  • Processing
  • Transportation
  • Paddy fields require about 4,000 cubic metres of water per tonne of rice for irrigation.This high amount of water needed, ends up blocking oxygen from getting to the soil, which creates the perfect conditions for bacteria that release methane.


  • Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) is an integrated approach to managing landscapes (cropland, livestock, forests and fisheries) that addresses the interlinked challenges of food security and accelerating climate change. CSA aims to simultaneously achieve three outcomes:
  • Increased Productivity: Produce more and better food to improve nutrition security and boost incomes, especially of 75% of the world’s poor who live in rural areas and mainly rely on agriculture for their livelihoods.
  • Enhanced Resilience: Reduce vulnerability to drought, pests, diseases and other climate-related risks and shocks, and improve capacity to adapt and grow in the face of longer-term stresses like shortened seasons and erratic weather patterns.
  • Reduced Emissions: Pursue lower emissions for each calorie or kilo of food produced, avoid deforestation from agriculture and identify ways to absorb carbon out of the atmosphere.

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