There are numerous study reports which suggest that agriculture and dietary consumption changes have potential to impact the GHG emissions. With the population explosion it is anticipated that to feed a global population of 9.1 billion with current dietary patterns food production likely to increase by 70% between 2005 to 2050. There are many methods which can help reduce GHG emissions without impacting the agriculture productivity. The methods used to manage the GHG emissions from agriculture will have major impact on the global climate, those can be at the supply side or at demand side.
Some or the methods which are suggested in the literature to limit the GHG emission from agriculture include i. Improved water management in rice crops ii. Adoption of zero tillage iii. Stopping residue burning iv. Fertilizer production v. Lesser land leveling activities vi. Increase NUE via fertigation and finally vii. Increased irrigation via sprinkler / micro irrigation techniques. The GHG emission can also be managed via restoration of degraded lands like by i. Reclamation of salinity / Alkalinity through chemical amendment ii. Reclamation of waterlogged surfaces via sub surface drainage, iii. Planting specific varieties of crops or even contour farming for lands which are eroded.
Though these methods are available in literature for years their adoption is limited given that we have been witnessing technological and production strategies. Severe weather patterns can drive implementation of GHG reduction strategies, however, often those being temporary which do not create permanent shift in behaviour. Financial arguments are often seen as compelling ways to mitigate the GHG emissions from agriculture – it is not just a fashionable policy statement rather it is a compelling way to manage the emissions. There have been reports by WBSCD which indicate that internally businesses are using carbon pricing to drive changes within their operations like the case of DSM. Similarly, another report by World Bank Group on State and Tends in Carbon Pricing – 2019 suggests that 57 carbon pricing initiatives have been implemented so far in the world with an overall revenue of $44 billion. IMF recommends Carbon Tax set to rise to $ 75 by year 2030.
Some of the carbon pricing initiatives include EU ETS and Canada etc. Though, agriculture sector opposes the implementation given that agriculture have zero control over price to sell their output. It also suggests that it will limit its expansion. However, recently New Zealand reached agreement to implement pricing at farm level GHG emissions bye year 2025. Carbon Pricing Policy needs a reciprocal and common commitment as highlighted in book on Global Carbon Pricing by Peter Cramton and others.
Now coming to the topic of how to help achieve GHG management in agriculture sector is by helping in the development tools of calculation of GHG emissions from agriculture. There are numerous tools available like EX-ACT, FarmGAS or Farming enterprise calculator, thought most of the tools use IPCC framework in calculation, they still need data availability and validation purposes. Some of the models use complex climate modelling techniques which require support of infrastructure facilities. To manage the initiatives listed above like water management in rice plants like implementation of drip systems, which will help in outperforming the conventional paddy fields. Help with tools like GIS on land management, support for fertigation i.e., the application of fertilization management by utilizing irrigation systems.
To conclude the topic of GHG management in agriculture is still wide and open to explored to full potential. There are various strategies suggested for management of GHG emissions, but it needs right support to farmers in-terms of educating them on the financial incentives to participate in the GHG management practices, help in increasing the participation rates by community programs, better use of technologies by training / supporting and eliminating implementation barriers, making the participation in the carbon pricing / GHG markets access easy and reducing administrative pricing and more importantly how the information is passed on to farmers on GHG management.