Q. What is carbon farming? How can this change the agriculture pattern vis-a-vis the climate change process?
Answer: Carbon Farming or carbon sequestration is a form of land management that increases
the sequestration and storage of carbon in soils and vegetation while decreasing greenhouse
gas emissions. It also enhances water quality, biodiversity, and agricultural livelihoods.
BENEFITS OF CARBON FARMING
Soil carbon sequestration has the potential to have significant positive effects on ecosystems,
biodiversity, and as well as on farmers themselves by enhancing their resilience and
profitability. With additional advantages in numerous socioeconomic and environmental
dimensions, carbon farming offers a unique opportunity to manage land more strategically.
Environmental benefits– Carbon farming entails a number of environmental benefits
Soil– Improved structure, stability, nutrient availability, soil health, water retention,
and moisture retention.
Water– it helps water quality by preventing nutrient runoff and enhances irrigation
Ecosystem– Enhanced habitat species that support ecosystem structure and
help to manage plant disease and pests.
Waste management– It leads to less reliance on harmful chemicals, fertilisers,
and pollution management
It leads to the development of skills and knowledge related to various agricultural
It can also provide additional employment opportunities thereby solving the
disguised unemployment issue plaguing our agricultural sector.
Through interaction and cooperation among the various sectors of the society,
community participation in nature building or fighting climate change will
Economic benefits– It will result in providing extra opportunities for farmers to increase
their income and thereby fulfilling the government’s goal of doubling farmer income.
Cost reduction due to reduced inputs and fuel use efficiency leads to cost savings
CARBON FARMING CHANGES THE AGRICULTURE PATTERN VIS-A-VIS CLIMATE
Agriculture occupies 37% of the planet’s land area and is responsible for producing 52% and
84% of the world’s anthropogenic methane and nitrous oxide emissions, respectively. However,
well-managed farms can be effective weapons in the war against global warming.
Reduced GHG emissions: The practice of “carbon farming” involves land
management and conservation methods that hasten and enhance soil’s capacity to store
carbon and consequently, cut down on atmospheric CO2 emissions.
This will help in limiting the global temperature to 1.5-degree celsius under the
An initiative called “4 per 1000”, launched at the 2015 Paris climate conference,
showed that increasing soil carbon worldwide by 0.4% yearly could offset that
year’s new growth in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel emissions.
Balance Anthropogenic encroachment: Human activity such as forestry, land use
change, and land use have an effect on terrestrial carbon sinks. The flow of carbon
between the atmosphere and the terrestrial biosphere system is subsequently altered as
a result. Carbon farming can act as a carbon sink and help balance the amount of
carbon in the atmosphere.
Maintaining and improving Soil organic carbon(SOC)on mineral soils: It
necessitates a favourable balance between carbon inputs and losses from the soil.
using cover crops
improved crop rotations. e.g., through the inclusion of legumes and other
maintaining pastures without ploughs;
transformation of arable land into grassland
grazing land and grassland management (for instance, by optimising stocking
densities or renovating the grassland).
The goal of nutrient management on croplands and grasslands is to minimise
emissions caused by the application of synthetic fertilisers. Key strategies are improved
nutrient planning and improving timing and application of fertilisers to avoid over
Soils high in organic matter (contains around 58 % carbon) tend to be good soils: They
are more resistant to drought, less prone to erosion, harbour more beneficial soil
organisms, and are generally better at growing healthy crops with fewer synthetic inputs.
Climate change, biodiversity, soils, water, and other environmental issues could all benefit from
Legally binding objectives: The government should set a number of legally binding
objectives to promote carbon farming. It should adopt a land use policy and set a
specific objective to achieve net-zero emissions from agricultural land use by 2030.
Assure that carbon farming yields environmentally friendly solutions such as those
that protect, manage sustainably, and restore natural or modified ecosystems, societal
challenges, and benefits for both biodiversity and human well-being. CO2 enters the soil
carbon pool through a variety of pathways, including surface litter, plant exudates, roots,
and mycorrhizal fungi.
Soil monitoring: Carbon farming in India requires solid foundations, effective data
collection and monitoring systems, and overarching legal principles. By restoring the soil,
the climate, and the natural environment, the Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and
Climate Change should create a strong regulatory framework for carbon farming.
Create a framework for easily accessible soil testing: Farmers currently view soil
testing as a significant expense, despite the fact that it is an essential first step in
improving soil management. Affordable soil testing facilities must be made available to
all farmers as they are urged to contribute more to climate mitigation and result-based
carbon farming schemes are implemented.
CARBON FARMING IN INDIA
India is the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, with livestock and agricultural
methane responsible for 74% of its emissions and rice cultivation responsible for another
India announced its five-pronged strategy(PANCHAMRIT) for combating climate change at the
Conference of Parties (COP-26), Glasgow (UK), and commitments include a reduction of one
billion tonnes of carbon by 2030, a 45% reduction in the carbon intensity of GDP by 2030, and
the achievement of Net Zero Emissions by 2070.
The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill 2022, a government initiative to
expand the domestic carbon market, was introduced and approved by the Lok
Sabha on August 8.
The Saguna Rice technique (SRT) is a novel agricultural method from Mumbai
that boosts farm output while also enhancing soil health by storing more carbon.
More than 1000 farmers in several Indian states have agreed to it.
PUSA- It was a crop residue management programme along with the Indian
Agricultural Research Institute, which convinced 25000 farmers across over
420,000 acres of land to decompose their stubble rather than burn it using a bio
enzyme “PUSA”, preventing the emission of over one million tonnes of carbon
Equipping farmers: Indian farmers with broadcasting, mobile advisory
dashboards that contain insights about sowing, soil health, seed treatment, and
weather forecasts, farmers are fostering resilience to changing climates and
engaging in regenerative practices while ensuring their farms remain effective
and profitable. Examples include Prasar Bharti, DD Kisan, and the Kisan
To develop a sustainable agriculture prototype for the entire northeast region,
Meghalaya is currently working on the carbon farming act.
By implementing these win-win strategies, we will be able to achieve Sustainable
Development Goal 13 (climate change) by 2030, help farmers restore biodiversity, and turn
agricultural land into a significant carbon sink by 2050. An innovative carbon farming law with a
strong transition strategy can clearly illustrate the concept of building a carbon sink. It can
enhance nutrition, lessen disparities within farming communities, change the way land is used,
and offer a crucial fix for our flawed food systems.