By Rowena Mathew
In order to showcase India’s adaptation efforts and achievement in climate resilient development of agriculture sector, a side event “Scaling up Adaptation Strategies for Climate Resilient Agriculture in India” was scheduled on 5th December, 2015 at the India Pavilion. This side event was hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and co-organized by NABARD, CRIDA, Development Alternatives and NCCSD, all who were panel members and discussed pathways for scaling up climate resilient agriculture models through nationally driven integrated development initiatives. The side event brought together India’s policymakers, scientists and civil society organisations to share successful highlights of technology innovation and adoption, capacity building, knowledge dissemination, community driven approaches and enabling policy environment.
Speaking on the technology and strategies being developed by CRIDA, the Director, Dr. Ch. Srinivas Rao briefed the audience about several strains of tolerant breeds/genotypes in field crops, horticulture, livestock, poultery and fisheries. He said, “600 district contingency plans are being implemented across the country and components of climate resilient villages (CRVs) were developed to adapt to various extreme events like droughts, floods cyclones, heat waves, forest and sea water inundation”.
Being an apex development finance institution of the Government of India, and the National Implementation Entity for NAFCC, AFB and GCF, NABARD is an important stakeholder in the upscaling of climate-resilient strategies. Mr. Rangaswamy Amalorpavanathan and Mr. Mashar highlighted the several development models being demonstrated that ensure food security and livelihood security of farming communities and are also increasing their adaptive capacities to bear climate risks. Mr Mashar said, “NRM-based livelihood programs that lead to strong stakeholder involvement are of importance. The NRM portfolio of NABARD in fact is $732 million for watershed projects, tribal projects and UPNRM (umbrella program for NRM), farm sector promotion through farmers collectives”. He also stressed the importance of upscaling all these projects in order to affect change and highlighting that the resources required would be around INR 5,000/ha or around $180million for adaptation alone.
Speaking on behalf of the civil society organisations, Mr. Anand Kumar of Development Alternatives appreciated the scientific research and implementation being done currently and highlighted the need to scale up these best practices. He spoke of the experience DA has in community based approaches for climate resilient agriculture, through improved farming practices, community well-being and alternate livelihood options – to which effect a short documentary was also shown. “The five step approach in scaling up practices are Research and assessment at a local level, Demonstration and implementation of resilient agriculture models, Communication and awareness, Training and capacity building and Policy and planning through mainstreaming.”
On the point of information and knowledge dissemination, Mr Shalin Shah from NCCSD advised that climate resilient development needs to look at new and improved information channels and dissemination strategies that facilitate climate change adaptation at community level. Crop advisories, weather forcasting information, access to information on conservation agriculture practices and government measures are crucial in helping the farmers take informed decisions. “90% of the farmer receive weather advisory through SMS now”, he said and these agri-information dissemination systems provide an important interface among scientists, policymakers and local farmers.
Agreeing with Mr. Shah on the role technology plays in information dissemination, Mr. Sadamate, Former Advisor (Agriculture), Planning Commission cited the example of Krishi Mahotsavs (Farmer’s Festivals) that were organized in 18,000 Gujarati villages which focused on on climate resilience and scaling up of practices. He said, “The improved marketing and communication of existing schemes and programs to the farmers; involvement of multi-disciplinary teams and issues were all strategies incorporated to allow for access of information”
A representative from American higher educational institutions, Professor Emboya, expressed interest in collaborating with India on agricultural research and technology initiatives like soil fertility. This expression of interest was well received by the panel members and further discussions.
About the Author:
Rowena Mathew works as Deputy Manager (Policy Research) at Development Alternatives, India.