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Climate Change and Green Economy

Climate Change and Green Economy
  • Where Have All the Seasons Gone?

    This is the name of the first Indian report on the impacts of climate change on agricultural workers. It was recently published by the Delhi Platform, the Gujarat Agricultural Labour Union (GALU) and the International Union of Foodworkers (IUF).

    The report focuses on the impacts of climate change on small and marginal farmers, and on agricultural workers in parts of Gujarat, India.

    It is based on conversations as well as on primary data and secondary literature.

    For small and marginal farmers in Gujarat, crop failure due to climate change can be a disaster and can plunge them into a cycle of debt, or into forced migration to factories or construction work. For sharecroppers (bataidars) and agricultural workers in Gujarat (and elsewhere in India), the impacts of climate change means a serious loss of work and wages. In North Gujarat for instance, the damage to the cotton crop meant a loss of about 30-40 days’ work per agricultural worker, or about Rs 4,000 per worker, a big setback to households in which more than one member engages in agricultural labour. It meant migration, but thousands of workers made that journey to find no work at the end of it because the crop had been damaged there too.

    The report confirms that climate change cannot be viewed in isolation from social processes. The capacity to absorb the impacts of climate change is crucially dependent on two factors in any agrarian setting: land ownership and access to water. A third factor, in parts of Gujarat, is animal husbandry, given its centrality for household economies.

    The report advocates policies such as compensation for workers due to loss of work, and to farmers for loss in crop yields, and details possible sources for such compensatory payments. Regarding adaptation to climate change, the report believes that the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in India has a considerable role to play in the better distribution of water and electricity, in developing and maintaining ponds, dams, grasslands, in reviving forests, in water harvesting, etc. NREGA is a legal guarantee of 100 days of employment every year to adult members of any rural household willing to do public work-related unskilled manual work at the Indian minimum wage.

    For more information and for the full printed copy of the report, please contact Nagraj Adve and his team at delhiplatform@gmail.com