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Coffee, Climate and Biodiversity: Understanding the Carbon Stocks of the Shade Coffee Production System of India

Nadesa Panicker Anil Kumar, Amsad Ibrahim Khan Saleem Khan, Vaniyan Balakrishnan.

Handbook of Climate Change and Biodiversity. 2018


In the light of climate change, the ecosystem services of traditionally maintained shaded Arabica coffee farms become prominent largely for increasing carbon removal. The most important function of the shade-grown coffee agroforestry system is the reduction of the concentration of Carbon in the atmosphere.

It is estimated that one-hectare shade-grown coffee farm with large forest trees can sequester 70–80 tonnes of carbon per hectare, which is more or less equivalent to the carbon stored in an equal area of forest. A full sun–grown or open coffee in one hectare can only store less than 10 tonnes of carbon.

“Monsooned Malabar Arabica Coffee is a specialty coffee of India, sourced from shade coffee plantation and has geographical indication (GI) protection. Shade grown coffee also serves as a refuge for biodiversity and its diverse and complex structure has a high potential to retain biodiversity in the changing climate scenarios.

In this context, this paper discusses the nexus of coffee, climate and biodiversity and its implications with Wayanad, Kerala, India as a case study. This paper emphasizes the need for promoting sustainable production and consumption of coffee as a carbon neutral brand and promotion of shade grown, biodiversity rich and climate resilient coffee can emerge as a highly valued commodity in the world coffee market.

Attempts at revival of the shade grown coffee system amongst the small growers with appropriate steps in marketing the coffee as a specialty product (carbon neutral and grown in bio-diverse environment) are discussed.

URL: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-319-98681-4_7

Courtesy: Springer


Cropping Pattern Changes in Kerala, 1956–57 to 2016–17

Deepak Johnson.
Review of Agrarian Studies, 8(1). 2018.

Abstract: This Note examines changes in the cropping pattern of Kerala over the last 61 years. Specifically, it puts together a district-level database on agriculture in Kerala from 1956–57, when the State was formed, to 2016–17, the most recent year for which data are available.

The available data were apportioned to nine composite districts according to the district boundaries of 1957–58 in order to construct a new dataset. The special features of this Note are the construction of continuous databases on land-use pattern and area and production statistics for Kerala for a 61-year period at the district level.

Full Article (Open Access): http://ras.org.in/cropping_pattern_changes_in_kerala_1956%E2%80%9357_to_2016%E2%80%9317

Courtesy – RAS

Selecting a “Village” in the Malabar Region, Kerala, India: A Note

R. Ramakumar.
Review of Agrarian Studies, 8(1). 2018.

Abstract: This brief note deals with two specific questions related to the study of rural society in Kerala. First, how have the definitional features of a “village” – as understood and explained by social scientists in the past – changed in Kerala over the years?

Secondly, what are the implications of these changes for the method of village studies in Kerala in the contemporary period? I attempt to answer these questions by focusing on the Malabar region of Kerala, which was part of the Madras Presidency in British India.

Full Article (Open Access):  http://ras.org.in/selecting_a_%E2%80%9Cvillage%E2%80%9D_in_the_malabar_region_kerala_india

Courtesy : RAS

Storage infrastructure and agricultural yield: evidence from a capital investment subsidy scheme

Somdeep Chatterjee.

Economics-ejournal Discussion Paper, 56. 2018.

In a developing economy, the availability of storage infrastructure is considered essential for two purposes; the reduction of post-harvest losses resulting in food shortage, and allowing for gains from inter-temporal trade due to potential arbitrage opportunities arising out of volatility in food grain prices.

This paper provides empirical evidence on a lesser studied impact of storage infrastructure, viz, agricultural yield. The author exploits potentially exogenous variation generated by the intensity of access to a capital investment subsidy program for construction and renovation of rural godowns in India to identify causal effects of better storage on yield.

He finds that the program led to an increase in rice yield by 0.3 tons per hectare, approximately a 20% increase compared to the baseline. A potential mediating channel for such an effect would be reduced storage costs facilitating better investments in productive inputs. As supportive evidence, the author finds that fertilizer consumption increased by 21% in response to the intervention.

URL: http://www.economics-ejournal.org/economics/discussionpapers/2018-56/file

Courtesy: Economics-ejournal

Innovations to Overcome the Increasingly Complex Problems of Hunger

Joachim von Braun.

ZEF Working Paper 167. 2018

Hunger has become ever more complex, and therefore efforts to sustainably eradicate hunger and malnutrition depend on policies and programs that match these complexities. Innovations are critical for progress. However, they require increased public and private investments as well. Key elements of inclusive policies and partnerships are agricultural development in the hunger-affected rural areas and communities to improve productivity will remain a major part of solutions.

Farmers’ own innovation capacities need strengthening. Investment in food and agricultural research and development (R&D) is an important tool for broad-based innovation, for instance, related to improved seeds. Digital technology is a game changer for food and nutrition security. Innovations for improved market functioning and avoidance of price shocks require information and early warning systems, as well as better preparedness with improved trade and food reserves policies.

The environmental and climate change aspects of agricultural and land and water use change need more attention for sustainable hunger reduction. More attention to innovative social protection and direct nutrition intervention programs is needed, including addressing the micronutrient deficiencies in rural and urban areas.

Hunger in complex emergencies needs to bring together development policy with diplomacy and security policy. Innovation initiatives like any development investments must follow principles of good governance, achieving investment at low transaction costs, sound financial practices, and avoidance of diversions of funds.

URL: https://www.zef.de/uploads/tx_zefportal/Publications/WP_ZEF_167.pdf

Courtesy: ZEF

Extreme weather and demand for index insurance in rural India

Benedikte BjergeNeda Trifkovic.

European Review of Agricultural Economics, 45(3). 2018.

Index insurance appeared recently in developing countries with the expectation to improve agricultural output and living standards in general. We investigate how experiencing extreme weather events affects farmers’ decision to purchase index insurance in India. Extreme weather events are identified from historical precipitation data and matched with a randomised household panel.

Excessive rainfall in previous years during the harvest increases the insurance demand, while lack of rainfall in the planting and growing periods has no effect. The latter can be explained by access to irrigation, underscoring the importance of the local context when developing insurance products to accommodate environmental risks.

URL: https://academic.oup.com/erae/issue/45/3

Courtesy: OUP

The Agrarian Question and Mechanisation of Agriculture in Kerala

K. N. Harilal and K. K. Eswaran

Review of Agrarian Studies, 8(1). 2018.

Two features of agriculture in Kerala lend special significance to the phenomenon of low agricultural mechanisation. The first is the relative shortage of agricultural workers, and the second the comparatively high wage rate in agriculture. We argue that the failure to mechanise agricultural operations cannot be explained without examining the larger question of the stunted development of agriculture in the State.

A revival of agriculture, therefore, cannot be based entirely on mechanisation, for it must address a range of problems including the growing dominance of the “asset” function of land at the expense of its “means of production” function, and the atomisation of farming. The social organisation of production needs to be reoriented such that the means of production function is reinstated and the limits imposed by the small size of farms are overcome.

Possible remedies to this problem include collectivisation of agriculture, appropriate organisational structures for production, and State support.

URL: http://www.ras.org.in/the_agrarian_question_and_mechanisation_of_agriculture_in_kerala

Courtesy: RAS