Jagged Edges

The Social Development Forum of CSD, New Delhi invites you to a talk on

Jagged Edges: Technology, Yields, Cropping Choices and Farmer Adaption to Climate Change in Three Semi-Arid Districts in Peninsular India, Maharashtra, 1966-2011‘ by Dr Deepak Dasgupta at 3 pm on October 30 (Monday), 2017 at Durgabai Deshmukh Hall, CSD, 53, Sangha Rachna, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi-110003.

The event will be chaired by Professor Ashok Pankaj, Director, CSD, New Delhi.

About the Talk: The central thesis of the paper is that patterns and impact of effects of climate change ─ more erratic rainfall and rising temperatures ─ provide a better way of assessing how farmers adapt to climate shocks in reality on the ground rather than the standard method of forecasting the future from climate models and using crop and farm behavior models.

Both technology and climate change effects can be distinguished as farmer adaptation strategies. These adaptation strategies, however, are not necessarily the same everywhere: they differ by institutional, social and historical settings particular to that district and its farmers. Three different typologies: (a) “gamblers” in highly commercial agricultural settings, where risk-reward strategies may actually involve taking even more risk for higher average returns with greater volatility of returns; (b) “risk-averse diversifiers”, in more public research institutional settings, where farmers may diversify to multiple crops and cropping systems to lower their overall risk and perhaps settle for slightly lower average pay-off strategies; and (c) “technology-adopters”, where the driving way that farmers seem to ultimately adapt is to rely even more on new technology and information (new varieties, new cropping systems, water management, etc.) to deal with climate shocks.

Markets, institutions and innovation are shaped by public policy—in sometimes intended or stated, and sometimes unintended or unstated ways, beneficially, and sometimes not. For example, coarse grains lost out to other food crops; commercial crops such as cotton saw much greater support; oilseeds and pulses have been only lately the focus of public attention; public research has everywhere played a crucial role in ushering new varieties and spreading information, and spurring private markets in commercial crops (Bt cotton). The policy challenges for the future rests ─ conjecturally ─ on some areas of focus: more attention to technology in scarce water management (sprinklers and drip-irrigation and not flood irrigation) rather than crop varieties and farm practices alone; weather forecasting reliability at more granular local levels; weather-based crop insurance, especially to guard against catastrophic events; and innovative market stabilization (rather than exhausted public procurement) instruments.

Dr Deepak Dasgupta’s areas of research are Climate change, Agriculture and Macroeconomics. A recipient of Adam Smith Prize and medallion at Cambridge University and the Amex Bank Review Award for essays in International finance, Dr Dasgupta is presently ICSSR Senior Fellow at the CSD. He has earlier worked with the World Bank for over twenty-five years in various capacities. He is a former founding Board Member of the UNFCCC Green Climate Fund (GCF), representing India and Asia Pacific; and former Principal Economic Adviser, Government of India, Ministry of Finance.
Dr Dasgupta has taught and lectured at universities and think-tanks in India as well as in other countries. He is the principal author, co-author or editor of 10 books and 100 articles.

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