The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog), the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (MoA&FW), Government of India, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) jointly launched the ‘Investment Forum for Advancing Climate Resilient Agrifood Systems in India’ in New Delhi. The kickoff event for this transformative initiative is a two-day multi-stakeholder meet scheduled for January 18-19, 2024, at the India International Centre, New Delhi.
This initiative aims to develop an investment and partnership strategy to advance climate resilient agrifood systems among the government, private sectors, and farmers’ organizations and financial institutions in India.
Delivering the keynote address at the inauguration, Prof Ramesh Chand, Member, NITI Aayog emphasized the need for awareness on how agriculture contributes to climate change, citing a contribution of a little more than 13% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the country. He shared that agriculture could play a role in carbon sequestration through tree plantation on farmland. Prof Chand also called for a new direction in economic analysis of agriculture production, considering natural resources impacts climate change, and future generations. He proposed incorporating metrics beyond financial prices to evaluate the economic impact of agricultural activities. Prof Chand also stressed the importance of aligning efforts with the larger UN approach for dealing with contemporary and long-term challenges.
Mr Manoj Ahuja, Secretary, MoA&FW, Government of India highlighted the significance of a multi-stakeholder approach in addressing climate challenges in India. He also stressed upon the importance of considering the perspective of small and marginal farmers, who constitute 85% of the farming population in India. Additionally, he spoke on the spatial and temporal distribution of climate patterns affecting farming activities and called upon the need for localized responses. Mr Ahuja also highlighted the need to focus on investment structures to increase incentives for farmers in the country.
Mr Shombi Sharp, UN Resident Coordinator stressed that without an answer to financial crisis there can be no answer to food crisis. “With food demand predicted to grow by at least 50% by 2050 to feed our growing human family, we urgently need to scale up investments in climate resilience in agriculture to ensure future generations have the resources needed to grow enough food,” he added. He reiterated UN’s support for climate initiatives in India, such as the Year of Millets and expressed the commitment to being a partner of choice for India.
The FAO Representative in India, Mr Takayuki Hagiwara, applauded Government of India’s strong leadership in building climate resilient agrifood systems through prioritized actions in mitigation and adaptation domains. raised the critical need to strengthen partnerships and investments to achieve climate resilience in agrifood systems in India. He also highlighted that the importance of de-risking. He shared, “When investing, it’s crucial to ensure feasibility and examine the sustainability of our actions. This includes considering the flow of working capital, labor availability, sustainability and impacts on environment, the roles of women in agrifood systems, and other factors. FAO’s knowledge and experience are available for de-risking our investments while developing climate-resilient agrifood systems.”
The two-day multi-stakeholder meet paved the way for discussions and deliberations among key stakeholders, and their perspectives on national priorities, investment opportunities, partnership, technical support and cooperation. The Forum facilitated discussions and deliberations on six key areas namely, (i) Climate resilient agriculture (experiences and pathways) (ii) Digital infrastructure and solutions (iii) Financing climate resilient agrifood systems (domestic and global) (iv) Climate resilient value chains (v) Production practices and inputs for climate resilience and (vi) Gender mainstreaming and social inclusion for climate resilience.
The meet witnessed almost 200 attendees with senior representatives from the government, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Indian Agricultural Research Institute (ICAR), International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), National Institute of Agriculture Extension Management (MANAGE), World Bank Yes Bank, Axis Bank, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Delegation of the European Union, International Finance Cooperation, and UN agencies participating at the event.
Climate change has profound implications for India, particularly affecting its socially vulnerable rural population which is largely dependent on climate-sensitive agricultural livelihoods. Indian agriculture, primarily rainfed, is susceptible to extreme temperatures, droughts, floods, cyclones, and soil salinity. Climate mainstreaming into agrifood systems requires much larger investments from global climate finance, domestic budgets, and the private sector.
This forum facilitates the identification of national priorities and policy platforms for financing climate resilient agrifood systems through a variety of investments spanning equity, grants supported by bilateral and multilateral development finance institutions (DFIs), green and social bonds, and other guarantee or output-based financing through corporations, blended finance, venture capital firms, among others. It brings forth key stakeholders to provide insights on several opportunities that can be leveraged through regional collaboration on climate-smart food system initiatives and suggest probable arrangements to maximize resource consolidation, route catalytic findings and support large-scale climate advocacy campaigns.
For more information, contact:
Communication & Knowledge Management Specialist, FAO
Takayuki Hagiwara, FAO-R in India delivering the opening remarks at the Investment Forum for Advancing Climate Resilient Agrifood Systems
Session on Gender mainstreaming and social inclusion in progress during the Investment Forum
Session in progress on Policy and Strategy to create enabling environment for advancing climate resilient agriculture on 19 January 2024