Daily Current Affairs Analysis

07 May 2024


What is Carbon Farming?  ( The Hindu)

Related Topic (as per UPSC Syllabus)

The headline "What is carbon farming?" poses a straightforward question aiming to introduce and explore the concept of carbon farming. It sets the stage for discussing various techniques within carbon farming that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the challenges of implementing these techniques, and their global impact, particularly in developing countries like India.

Relevance to UPSC Syllabus

Topic and Subtopics:

1.    Environment and Ecology:

·       Subtopic: Sustainable Development, Climate Change.

2.    Geography:

·       Subtopic: Agricultural Geography, Impacts of climate change on agriculture.

3.    General Issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity, and Climate Change:

·       Subtopic: Environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

This topic is relevant across multiple stages of the UPSC exam:

  • Prelims: Questions can be asked about the techniques and impacts of carbon farming.
  • Mains: Essays or analytical questions could explore the implications of carbon farming on sustainable development and climate resilience.
  • Interview: Discussions might focus on how carbon farming can be integrated into national policies or its role in meeting international environmental commitments.


News Analysis

What is Carbon Farming?


Carbon farming is an agricultural approach that focuses on capturing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It plays a vital role in combating climate change, enhancing ecosystem health, and improving agricultural productivity. Carbon farming encompasses a wide range of practices, including planting trees, managing livestock, and maintaining agricultural infrastructure, all while contributing to carbon sequestration.

How Can Carbon Farming Help?

1.    Improving Soil Health:

·       Carbon farming practices such as agroforestry and cover cropping enhance soil health by increasing organic matter and nutrient retention.

2.    Reducing Emissions:

·       Through techniques like reduced tillage and efficient fertilizer use, carbon farming helps reduce emissions associated with conventional agricultural practices.

3.    Enhancing Biodiversity:

·       Carbon farming promotes diverse ecosystems by incorporating practices like intercropping, which supports various plant and animal species.

4.    Water Management:

·       Practices like planting cover crops improve water infiltration and retention, reducing issues related to water scarcity.

Techniques in Carbon Farming

1.    Cover Cropping:

·       Growing crops like clover or rye during the off-season to prevent soil erosion, enhance soil organic matter, and suppress weeds.

2.    Agroforestry:

·       Integrating trees and shrubs into crop and livestock systems, enhancing carbon storage and providing additional benefits like shade and windbreaks.

3.    Reduced Tillage:

·       Minimizing soil disturbance to retain carbon and improve soil structure, reducing erosion and promoting beneficial soil organisms.

4.    Livestock Management:

·       Adjusting grazing practices and using manure as fertilizer to enhance carbon storage and soil health.

Challenges to Carbon Farming

1.    Economic Constraints:

·       Farmers may face financial barriers when implementing carbon farming practices, particularly without incentives or subsidies.

2.    Knowledge and Awareness:

·       Lack of understanding about carbon farming benefits and techniques can hinder adoption among farmers.

3.    Infrastructure:

·       Inadequate infrastructure, such as equipment for reduced tillage or resources for agroforestry, can pose challenges.

4.    Policy and Regulation:

·       Policies may not always align with carbon farming goals, and inconsistent regulations can discourage farmers from adopting these practices.

Carbon Farming Initiatives Worldwide

1.    Market-Based Mechanisms:

·       Systems like the Chicago Climate Exchange and the Carbon Farming Initiative in Australia allow farmers to sell carbon credits, incentivizing carbon sequestration activities.

2.    Government Programs:

·       Kenya’s Agricultural Carbon Project supports carbon farming through funding and technical assistance, focusing on smallholder farmers.

3.    Corporate Partnerships:

·       Businesses interested in offsetting emissions may partner with farmers to promote carbon farming, providing financial support and incentives.

Opportunities in India

1.    Climate Change Mitigation:

·       India’s diverse agricultural landscapes, like the Indo-Gangetic Plains, are well-suited to carbon farming, which can mitigate climate change and enhance food security.

2.    Farmer Support:

·       Supporting farmers through education, incentives, and infrastructure can encourage the adoption of carbon farming practices, enhancing sustainability.

3.    Economic Benefits:

·       Carbon farming can provide farmers with additional income through carbon credit trading or by improving yields through better soil health.


Carbon farming offers a sustainable approach to agriculture that balances food production with environmental conservation. By implementing practices that capture and store carbon, farmers can contribute to climate change mitigation, improve ecosystem health, and enhance agricultural productivity. While challenges exist, initiatives worldwide demonstrate that carbon farming is both feasible and beneficial, especially when supported by appropriate policies, incentives, and infrastructure.


Probable Mains Question- Daily Mains Answer Writing Practice

"Discuss the role of carbon farming in mitigating climate change and its potential to transform agriculture in India."

Hints for Answer:


Carbon farming represents a strategic intersection between agriculture and environmental conservation, aimed at reducing atmospheric CO2 levels. This practice integrates carbon sequestration with farming methods to not only mitigate climate change but also enhance agricultural sustainability and productivity.

Demand of the Question

The question requires an analysis of how carbon farming contributes to climate change mitigation and its transformative potential on Indian agriculture. This involves discussing the methods of carbon farming, the challenges faced in its implementation, and its benefits beyond carbon sequestration, including enhancing soil health, biodiversity, and farmers' income.

Way Forward

To maximize the benefits of carbon farming, a multi-pronged approach is essential. This includes developing robust policy frameworks to support farmers in adopting carbon farming practices, increasing investments in research and development to refine these techniques, and enhancing public awareness about their environmental and economic benefits. Integrating carbon farming into national climate strategies is crucial for achieving India's climate goals and ensuring food security.


MCQs for Prelims Practice

1.    Which of the following is not a technique used in carbon farming?

A) Agroforestry

B) Monocropping

C) Cover cropping

D) Reduced tillage

Answer: B) Monocropping

Explanation: Carbon farming involves diverse cropping systems like agroforestry and cover cropping to enhance carbon sequestration, whereas monocropping generally decreases soil health and is less effective at carbon storage.


2.    Carbon farming contributes to climate change mitigation by:

A) Increasing the use of chemical fertilizers

B) Enhancing greenhouse gas emissions

C) Sequestering carbon in the soil

D) Promoting deforestation

Answer: C) Sequestering carbon in the soil

Explanation: Carbon farming sequesters carbon by implementing practices that increase soil organic carbon content, thereby reducing atmospheric CO2 levels.


3.    Which policy initiative supports carbon farming in India?

A) Green Revolution

B) Digital India

C) Soil Health Card Scheme

D) National Solar Mission

Answer: C) Soil Health Card Scheme

Explanation: The Soil Health Card Scheme indirectly supports carbon farming by promoting soil health awareness and sustainable farming practices that contribute to carbon sequestration.


4.    What is a primary benefit of agroforestry within the context of carbon farming?

A) Reduces reliance on renewable energy

B) Increases the use of inorganic pesticides

C) Enhances soil carbon storage and biodiversity

D) Leads to increased soil erosion

Answer: C) Enhances soil carbon storage and biodiversity

Explanation: Agroforestry, a common carbon farming practice, improves soil carbon storage and biodiversity, contributing to both environmental health and agricultural productivity.


5.    Cover cropping as a carbon farming practice primarily helps in:

A) Reducing crop diversity

B) Enhancing soil structure and health

C) Increasing water usage

D) Decreasing land use efficiency

Answer: B) Enhancing soil structure and health

Explanation: Cover cropping improves soil structure and health by preventing erosion, enhancing nutrient cycling, and increasing organic matter in the soil, which are essential for carbon sequestration.






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