Case studies from India

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members


Case studies from India

Rapid urbanisation in Indian cities brings in the change in the land-use pattern putting immense pressure on the agricultural land in the peri-urban (PU) areas of these expanding cities. Peri-urban agriculture (PUA) provides an important activity to lessen the concerns of food and nutrition provision for the rising city population. It also serves as a livelihood opportunity for the population. It becomes important as a counter to the environmental and ecological impacts of urbanisation as well. The proximity of peri-urban agricultural production to the consumption centres (cities) reduces the supply chain needs, lowering the emissions from transport and storage/processing requirements. Thus, largely, the cultivation of commercially high-value perishable crops such as vegetables and other horticultural produce is undertaken in peri-urban areas.

The study demonstrates the potential of PU horticulture through a detailed analysis for three Indian cities, namely, Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar metro region, Dehradun, and Panjim and their respective peri-urban area falling under Gujarat Plains and Hills, Western Himalayan, and West Coast Plains and Hills agro-climatic regions respectively. To understand the impacts of climate change on cropping patterns for the selected fruits and vegetables, we undertake this assessment for two future climate scenarios- RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 up to 2050. The methodology consists of three different models, representing the three components of Crop demand, Land suitability and Crop supply potential, and supply-chain optimisation. These components are soft linked to each other.

The major crops considered for assessment for the Dehradun case study include Mango, Apple, Tomato, Onion, Potato, and Peas. The assessment results indicate the area available for mango production is increasing under rising temperature (i.e. in RCP 4.5 & RCP 8.5). While there is not much difference in the suitability pattern for tomato and onion cultivation. The climatic future suitability analysis for vegetable peas cultivation shows that there is a decrease of highly suitable land in short-and long-term RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 scenarios while there is a decrease in land suitable for cultivation for potato crops in the Dehradun region.

Based on the three case studies undertaken in the study, the broader indications are that PUA is on the decline.

Various factors may be at work behind this. Land use has been witnessing a transition away from green, open and agricultural spaces in Indian cities towards more built spaces. Such a rapid rate of transition is not seen in the rural areas. Some other factors could be the disinterest of the new generation in agriculture, and low returns in comparison to the amount of hard work being put in for cultivation.

This necessitates the formulation of appropriate formal policies and market-based interventions towards promoting PUA in India at various levels of governance to start with.  Sectoral decision making and diverse governance approaches create further challenges. There is also a need for promoting public awareness on PUA especially horticulture through public and stakeholder dialogues on the various aspects of PUA. Further, to bring in food security and resilience through self-reliance, transparency and traceability of the production and consumption-related data are necessary. Hence, communication and discourses around these issues are required. Along with the above-mentioned issues around food production and consumption, public and stakeholder dialogues on urban development, economic growth, migration, climate change impacts and resilience should be encouraged.

(The study was conducted by IIM-Ahmedabad and GIZ under the Indo-German bilateral cooperation project on “Supporting the Institutionalisation of Capacities on Climate Change Studies and Actions (ICCC)” commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and being implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)).

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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