The challenges of Climate Change: A survey of 800 farmers from 8 Countries
A survey of 800 farmers from eight countries including India reveals that despite the negative impact of climate change on agriculture, there is cautious optimism too. But farmers across the board feel their voice is not heard enough.
गाँव कनेक्शन 23 Oct 2023 1:00 PM GMT
A survey of more than 800 farmers in Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Kenya, Ukraine, the United States and India, has recorded their responses about climate change and its impact on agriculture.
Eight out of 10 farmers, who have experienced the impact of heat, anticipate reduced yields in the coming years. There are some of the key findings from the Farmer Voice, a survey conducted on behalf of Bayer by Kekst CNC, a global strategic communications firm based in New York City. The interview of the farmers took place between April and July 2023. Bayer, is a German multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company.
Most farmers reported that rising temperatures were lowering productivity and extreme weather was impacting farming and livelihood. Nearly all farmers surveyed have reported some change in weather over recent years, with heat effects felt most acutely in India, Kenya, and Brazil.
Ninety per cent of the surveyed farmers said the weather had changed and that they had experienced higher temperatures and for longer periods in recent years. Almost a third of them reported more volatile weather.
One out of six surveyed farmers said they faced income losses of over 25 per cent over the past years due to changes witnessed in the weather. Around 76 per cent of them are worried about the impact climate change will have on the farm.
According to the report, world events and global inflation have propelled cost issues to the top of farmers’ immediate concerns. They are grappling with uncertainty. Input prices continue to spiral, fertiliser costs are rising and incomes remain volatile.
Around half of farmers said that in the coming three years, energy and fertiliser costs and unstable income were amongst their top challenges.
There is a rise in pests and diseases in the crops, said over 73 per cent of the surveyed farmers. The survey data suggests that in spite of facing soaring temperatures, erratic weather, relentless pests and devastating droughts, there is an underlying optimism about the future amongst the farmers.
“Most farmers worldwide are optimistic but feel they are not recognized for their role in nourishing the world. Despite significant challenges posed by climate, market, and geopolitical pressures, most remain positive about the future. Farmers of India are most likely to prioritise soil health for future success,” the survey claimed.
Smallholder farmers have the most pressing challenge of fertiliser costs and labour worries. For them the priority is financial security and risk management as pests and changing weather threatens their yields. Yet, Indian smallholders are more positive about the future of farming than the global average, the report said
Four out of 10 farmers said that protecting and increasing soil health of their land are one of the most important ways to tackle the risks of extreme weather. About 88 per cent said they needed to be compensated more for taking action that benefits the environment. Farmers prioritise seeds and traits designed to cope with extreme weather. The need is to use their land more efficiently, said 48 per cent of farmers.
Of the surveyed farmers, 71 per cent were positive about the future of farming in the country, 88 per cent said they were critical to ensuring food security but did not get the credit they deserved, and 90 per cent agreed that people needed to listen to their voices more.