Institute for Social and Economic Change
Working Paper: 295
Vulnerability Assessment of the Agricultural Sector in Yadgir District, Karnataka: A Socio-Economic Survey Approach
The agricultural sector is affected by multiple stressors. One of them is climatic change. Its impact is visible in the form of rise in temperature and sporadic rainfall. The non-climatic stressors, evident in the form of price fluctuations, are controlled by market forces and social, economic and political factors. The vulnerability of agriculture to climate variability is also aggravated by the cultivation pattern practiced in a particular area. If a crop contributes heavily in increasing GHGs (Green House Gases), by intensive use of fertilisers and irrigation, it makes the region twice as vulnerable to the impact of climate change. Therefore, an understanding of vulnerability of this sector is critical for the immediate implementation of remedial policies. This study includes a survey of the district to assess the reasons behind the change in the cultivation patterns in last few years and an assessment of carbon footprint contributed by each crop grown in the region. It aims to highlight the crop type that could increase the vulnerability of the region in the long-term. The key findings show the sequential events of how people have shifted from one crop to other and how climatic as well as non-climatic stresses, perceived to have taken the form of overexploitation of land, have affected the fertility of the soil. Water availability has been altered by the changed rainfall patterns and as a result, people have shown more inclination from rain-fed rather than irrigated agriculture. Low productivity from traditional varieties has increased dependency on hybrid seeds, which in turn has further increased their problems. Variability in climate has led to further changes in agricultural practices as it has caused changes in the periods of growth and harvest of crops. This study compiles the climatic variability experiences of the district for the last 10 years along with non-climatic interventions, and analyses how together have they contributed in changing the cultivation patterns of the region.