|56-year-old Kamla Devi listens to messages about the weather and best climate-friendly crop practices on her mobile phone while working in the cowshed at her home in Anjanthalli village. Image by Prashanth Vishwanathan. Used with permission.|
What is climate-smart agriculture? It's the idea of helping farmers adapt to changing climates while weaning them off techniques and technologies that produce greenhouse gases. In a number of countries in Africa and Asia, Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), a research program of CGIAR (a global partnership dedicated to agriculture research), has already set up "climate-smart villages" to put the idea into practice.
Farmers in northern India have grown used to a wide range of weather, and work their fields around monsoon seasons that regularly bring them torrential rains. But as climate change begins to change the weather, scientists predict that growing conditions in the country are likely to become even more challenging and could alternate abruptly between periods of severe rainstorms and drought, according to the group.
In response to the farming challenges brought on by climate change, Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), together with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre and partner organizations are introducing a portfolio of climate-smart agriculture practices and technologies in their climate-smart villages.
In India the project is undertaken currently in Haryana, Bihar and Punjab. The same model also operates in Khulna, Bangladesh and Rupandehi in Nepal. This video explains the idea behind the villages:
In the climate smart villages in India, farmers have begun to alter their use of mobile phones, the Internet, and basic measurement devices to adapt to the changes initiated by climate change, according to CGIAR. An interesting aspect is that farmers are actually not talking much about climate change, but rather are engaging themselves in alternative and innovative practices. The money that they are saving by doing things like using new planting methods for rice that reduces the amount of labor and water needed are resulting in a significant cost savings, CGIAR says.
|Harpreet Singh checks the water level through a Tensiometer in his paddy fields in Birnaryna as a part of the Climate Smart Village (CSV) programme. Image by Prasanth Viswanathan. Used with permission|
Anjantheli, the first climate-smart village in Haryana, where every person has #weather forecasts on their fingertips http://t.co/dSpBcwqnJYFarmers are being encouraged to improve their nutrient management, for example through the use of a leaf color chart:
— India Water Portal (@indiawater) September 9, 2014
|27-year-old Vinod Kumar (L) uses the Nutrient Expert computer programme to ascertain his farms nutrient needs being part of the Climate-Smart Village programme in Anjanthalli. Image by Prashanth Vishwanathan. Used with permission.|
The success of the models in India has prompted replication of the initiative under climate smart village in various South Asian and African countries. The CGIAR's blog narrates a lot of initiatives and challenges that the climate-smart villages face.
The post was also published in Global Voices Online.