India called for SAARC countries to cooperate in addressing climate change and its impact on the farm sector. Addressing the third meeting of agriculture ministers of SAARC countries, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said, “Climate change is a real episode. Most likely, it can inflict tremendous losses in a number of cases.”
South Asia is one of the most sensitive regions to the consequences of climate change. The South Asia is home to 1.567 billion people that constitute 23.7% of global population and the share of the region in global arable land is 14%. Agriculture experts of South Asian countries have recommended the setting up of regional information centres to alert farmers in the area on movement of pests and spread of crop diseases in the wake of climate change. Pests like locusts moving from Pakistan to western part of India had affected crops in both the countries.
How climate change affects SAARC Countries?
Having witnessed the quantum jump in food production following the success of new Green revolution technologies in the decade of 1960s, agriculture in the region is faced by a several set of challenges loss of soil organic matter; mining of soil nutrients; build-up of weeds, diseases and pests; salinity and sodicity; falling groundwater tables and rising groundwater tables/ water logging that not only affect the agriculture locally but also have trans-boundary impacts such as climate change, natural disasters, movement of pests and disease causing organisms and require a collective remedial action.
Among SAARC nations, Bangladesh and Maldives together are seeking joint efforts to keep the ceiling for rising temperatures at 1.5 degrees. Maldives , the lowest lying country in the world is not even built on sand, but on the planet’s most endangered ecosystem, coral reefs.
Nepal, which being in the lap of the Himalayas is directly affected by climate change with regard to its water resources and agriculture. India being the third largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter worldwide, could have jointly developed ideas and plans of investment, carbon trading/marketing, clean energy supply within SAARC nations leading to emission reduction.