Climate Resilient Agriculture Practices: Nayagarh and Balangir

The fact that the weather risk has ruined rainfall agriculture. The uncertainty in weather conditions has put at risk the crop output, production and yield which contributes to the growing distress among the rain fed farmers in general and the marginal, small and resource poor farmers in particular resulting distress migration. Therefore, there is a need for rethinking on existing policy framework in order to ameliorate the conditions of this set of farmers in weather event and rain shadow areas.

The rain fed agriculture, assumes significance primarily due to the fact that a larger proportion is cultivated under rain fed conditions. An Inadequate and un-assured irrigation facility along with erratic rainfall conditions has a dampening effect on yield and as a consequence, the land productivity has remained considerably low and unstable over the period of time. Moreover, looking at global climate change serious weather event, frequency of droughts and floods have impacted largely the production and productivity in rain fed and low land areas that has serious effect on food, water and nutrition security.

Fair Climate Practices in Agriculture 1

At times when the production gains of ‘Green Revolution’ under the new technology have remained limited to specific crops such as wheat and rice and to some specific regions having adequate and assured irrigation, it is widely recognised that there is an emerging need for bringing in second ‘Green Revolution’ in rainfed areas with small holdings by giving due attention to various aspects such as resource base, technological options and institutional arrangement towards promotion of climate resilient agriculture based on few doable adopted practices with basic principle:

  • Crop Diversity & multiple farming practices assure inbuilt relay   harvesting & insurance
  • Management of Soil health issues: Soil testing and application green manure and crop residue with added organic manure like bone/stera-meal
  • Wise Water management & low water requiring crops to manage hungry and thirsty crops
  • Adoption of Nutritional cycle and crop rotation with possible crop combination / matching crops
  • Good quality seed & promotion of cultural biodiversity

Although there good practices and policies have formulated at national and state level to doubling the farmers income by 2020 but issues and perspectives related to the climate resilient agriculture need to be focused especially for Odisha and in the Indian context. There is a need to discuss and debate the factors that have depending performance of climate resilient farming practices .It would not only add to the existing knowledge but it may also suggest certain pathways and policy guidelines that may lead to desired outcomes especially in the context of production, productivity with assured yield and income and environmental sustainability..

Based on year long experience in working with farming communities in both drought and flood plan, UDYAMA has facilitated small efforts in promoting climate resilient agriculture in Bolangir and Nayagarh districts in fair Climate project keeping above principle: Both districts are drought affected and rain shadow areas with serious climate change impacts and serious weather events, high temperature zone along resource degradation.

Fair Climate Practices in Agriculture 2

Normally in agriculture development program, small and marginal framers household hardly get scope to develop crop which meet the nutritional need of their family. In order to provide access to nutritious food at their backyard this program has been initiated in the program area.

Households and farming collectives in some clusters were provided with seed and sapling support under the program to grow gardens of such vegetables in their backyard. In such initiatives 42 households have been supported with seeds of amaranths, sapling of drumstick, papaya, banana and guava to grow and multiply in the area.

Preparation and use of Organic Farming Practices: In order to bring back to traditional farming practices and focused on organic methods of farming, the program initiated with trainings and small material support thereafter to few farmers to take up preparation and use of organic manure and pesticides in both the program district. Under this several trainings were conducted under sustainable agriculture training and demonstration. 66 such farmers were provided with one plastic container and hand holding in preparation of organic manure and pesticides. Several farmers applied the same in their filed and found it very useful. The same practice has also been ensured in all farmer field school to transfer the knowledge to nearby farming community. This practice has gained very momentum as it is available in locality without degrading further the soil , plant ,animal and human lives rather saves money investment further.

Managaing Plant Soil Heath: To ensure sustainable management of agriculture practices, management of farm and household waste, residue waste use were ensured by developing compost pits at household level. Every house hold linked to the activity by practicing composting the bio waste of household through these small initiatives. 316 household in both the district have done small compost pits either at their backyard or farmyard to ensure use of compost in varieties.

Seed Bank and Grain Bank promotion as part of local biodiversity :As most of the program participants belongs to small and marginal farmer category, they face shortage of grain and see before and during any cropping season due to lack of preservation and storage of traditional seeds. Often the seed supply system run by the state hardly reaches the farmer in time. So, before any cropping season the farmers suffer a lot to get the required seed.

Similarly, the marginal households face scarcity of food due to non availability of grain during kharif (lean season), as they mostly engaged in their filed and hardly get any scope to earn livelihood from externals source. During the period they borrow grains from informal source at high interest rate and repay the immediately after the harvesting. In order to create a coping mechanism community grain banks were promoted in some of the disadvantage habitations to meet the need during difficult times. The community created their fund by contributing as per their capacity and the program supported a matching of either grain or storage bin to make the process work for them. 12 such grain banks were promoted in 12 villages in both the district. This bank may be used for food grain or/and seed if necessary.

About the organisation:

Udyama is a food security and sustainable rural livelihoods focused action and advocacy oriented organisation primarily working in the state of Odisha. The organisation aims to work towards strengthening food security and livelihoods through restoration and sustainable management of natural resources, capacity building of local communities to deal with and combating environmental hazards and through increased access to education and health services. More information can be found here.