Climate Change Adaptation and Agriculture


Climate Change (CC) is the among the most important global environment concerns. CC is having significant impacts on the most vulnerable communities. Considering characteristics, agriculture can be considered as one of the most affected sector and thus most vulnerable to climate change. Susceptibility and sensitivity of agriculture to the variance of the climatic parameters is responsible for the fact. Agriculture having the significant contributor in national GDP, translates the susceptibility of national economy and growth to climate change. In context of India the GDPs 60% share is agriculture and approximately 60% population's livelihood is depends on farming co emphasizing the need of resilient systems and strategies for agriculture sector and farming community. In which semi-arid regions are considered particularly most vulnerable to climate change. Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation Supported Development Alternatives, a Civil Society Organization, active in Bundelkhand Region of Central India for taking up actions and influence policy to address the climate vulnerability of the region and its impact on livelihhods.


Semi arid regions being particularly less resilient to the non favourable climatic conditions, lead to more negative impacts. Bundelkhand has faced severe drought years in recent past (five drought years in last seven years). Last year was not the hydrological drought but delayed monsoon resulted into the failed Kharif season in most part of the Bundelkhand region. Increasing frequency of the drought in the region is causing the farmers to take extreme steps in frustration. There have been incidences of farmers letting their animals in fields as the crops would not yield anything, in cases of delayed monsoon.

Even though farmers are facing these challenges, haven't yet realized that these droughts are not incidental but reflecting the trend of reducing rainfall and erratic character and these are going to be more common incidents in future. Thus there is dire need not only of identifying strategies to fight climate change but also to make the vulnerable sections aware about the climate change and make them ready to adopt the strategies for adapting to climate change.

Mitigation and Adaptation:

There are several factors and sectors which are responsible for Green House Gas emissions and thus climate change. Agriculture sector remained most unmanaged till yet due to i) non point source emission of GHGs, ii) need and priority of higher productions to feed the ever growing population. As mentioned above, agriculture sector is also most susceptible to climate change contributing into the vicious cycle. Inefficient agricultural practices causes the GHG more emissions, which accelerating the CC, resulting into the lower production. To compensate this, farmers tend to put more resources whenever and wherever are available in terms of fertilizer, water etc. which are the main factor for inefficiencies in the farm sector.

Effects of Climate Change and Solutions:

In Bundelkhand region, calculations of the climate reflect that after 25 years, rainfall is expected to reduce by 20% and the productivity of the existing crops may reduce by 15%. Decreasing landholding per farmer is going to have enhanced negative impact of these projections.

Thus the expected facts after 20-25 years would be:

• Reduced rainfall, thus
o Less availability of surface water
o Deepened ground water level
o Low returns of rain fed agriculture

• Smaller landholdings
• High input costs in agriculture
• Lower profitability per unit of land
• Higher risks of crop failures

Above estimations on reduced productions are based on the existing crops and practices. Our adaptation strategies need to be focus on the methods which can nullify or reduce the effects of the unreliable climatic conditions. Such as:

• Adopting low water requiring/ drought resisting crops/crop verities
• By reducing the water losses in agriculture and by irrigating the crops/plants not the land
• Using improved practices to save the applied water like mulching etc
• Reducing the input costs by appropriate application of inputs
• Adopting and promoting the alternative models for duel/multiple use of land like different forms of agroforestry or multi cropping
• By having fall back options like alternate income sources/crop insurance etc.

Where is will there is a Way

Approach which has been adopted to take up and fight with climate change is two sided, i) Identifying the technical options and interventions required, ii) making community aware and helping them to take lead to fight climate change.

Identification of interventions

Drought resistant varieties are available at different stakeholders. However the adoption is not much as farmers are not aware about these varieties and characteristics of these crops/crop varieties. Such varieties have been promoted as they are the important option which can provide reliable production level even in extreme conditions.

There are various methods and ways available for reducing the water losses in irrigation. Sprinkler and drip methods can reduce the water application significantly. Similarly, mulching can reduce the water loss from the soil. For flood irrigation also contour cultivation, and making the check basins or borders depending on the land slope and soil type, can increase the water use efficiencies significantly. Information on these options is being made available to the farmers through different stakeholders including the research organizations.

It has also been observed that the quantity of seed we use per acre of land is quite higher than required for optimum production. This, not only increase the input costs but also reduce the productivity by creating unnecessary competition within the crop itself. Appropriate use of manure and fertilizers, minimal tillage is the practices which reduces the input costs and enhance the profitability of the particular crops.

Agro-horticulture and other forms of Agro-forestry can be one way of reducing the dependability of the output of our efforts on the erratic monsoon, thus, stabilizing the incomes of the household and also its distribution across the year. For the purpose of reducing the risks of crop failure, government is also promoting the efficient irrigation systems like drip and sprinkler for agro-horticulture use.

Government has also various other schemes to protect or at least protect partially ourselves from the risks of the crop failure from several reasons. National Agriculture Research Scheme (NAIS) is one of them. We can get our crop insured under this scheme and in case of crop damage due to any o the enlisted reasons, we can get the benefits of the schemes.

It is also worth knowing at this point of time that quite of the options available are more accessible for the groups. Let's join hand together to access the information and take the challenges posed by climate change.

Creating Institutional Systems for Adaptation

Adaptation is the community and social initiative, which needs community actions. For sustainable farming society initiative, three tier institutional systems has been formed, at village level farmers groups consists of active farmers. The objectives of the farmers clubs is to keep interactions and ensure access of farmers to knowledge and resources bases in terms of the meetings with scientists and extension workers, ensuring appropriate seed varieties and technologies etc. At second tier representatives of the farmers groups have formed the cluster of the farmers group. These clusters are responsible for managing and creating cluster (cluster of geographically nearby villages). Top level tier is the federation level institution which takes the responsibility to resource building for all three levels of the institutions and establishing backward and forward linkages with markets.

In fact these institutions are playing their role effectively and have shown the capacity. Several activities have been taken up by them. These three tier system is part of the Farmers adaptation cluster. During the first year of operations, the Farmers Adaptation Cluster, has established linkages with different institutions like Water Technology Centre, Indian Agriculture Research Institute, Krishi Vikas Kendra (KVK), National Research Centre on Agro Forestry (NRCAF), etc. and had arranged exposure visits for its member farmers, introduced high yielding varieties and appropriate practices affecting the yield enhancement by 35 to 40%. It has also recorded the reduction in required inputs due to information and appropriate technology propagation.

Humans Exist Because Of Pollination

Pollination is important to our very existence. Without pollination, we haven't any food. If you want to help mankind, you can plant flowers and plants to attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. The best plants to accomplish this goal are nectar producing plants. There are many good resources on the internet that can provide you the information you need to know what kinds of plants to grow in your area. Here are a few tips.

Your growing zone is key to determining what plants will grow well. BUT you also need to consider local soil type, growing conditions, etc. Visiting a local nursery will give you a good start on what grows well in your area. You can purchase plants there, or purchase seeds and grow your garden from scratch. Now, what kinds of plants attract pollinators? Bees especially like legume plant blossoms like clover but will collect any pollen they can find. To attract bees, other plants to consider are, fireweed, monkshood (caution: this plant is poisonous), red clover, asters, goldenrod, foxglove, germander, Joe pye weed, sedum Autumn joy, oregano, thyme, globe-thistle, hyssop, lavender, chives, penstemons, rosemary, and of course, sunflowers. Pollinators also included hummingbirds and butterflies, so don't forget those feeders! Yes, there is such a thing as a butterfly feeder! Go the extra step and hang houses for birds, bees, and butterflies too.

To attract butterflies, choose a variety of plants so that flowers are always blooming. If you only plant flowers that bloom at the same time, the butterflies will leave when those flowers die. Butterflies like color so remember that too. Flowers that attract butterflies include, day lily, iris, lavender, Asters, Butterfly bush, Heliotrope, Cosmos, Clover, Zinnia. As you can see, many of the flowers that attract butterflies also attract bees. Remember to use lots of color.

Ever considered creating a nesting site for bees? Farmers do it. Some of the non-stinging bees, like the Mason bee are inhabitants of gardens that provide nesting sites. They need these sites in order to reproduce. Alfalfa farmers, for example, set up nesting sites for leaf-cutter bees because they are the main pollinators in their fields. Large orchards usually set up bee hives to pollinate their crops during the blooming season. If you are interested in setting up a nesting site, you can find a Mason bee lodge online, or you can make one, they're easy. All you need is a block of wood and a drill. There are instructions online for the varying kinds of bee lodges and houses.

Now that you have your information on what kinds of flowers to plant and what kind of nesting area to create (if you choose to) you are ready to get out there and get the seeds you need before Spring arrives. If you aren't into seeding plants, visit your local nursery in the Spring to purchase budding plants.

The Effects of Garbage on Our Environment

Garbage is very harmful to our environment. It poses dangerous risks to our land water, and air. Landfills overfilling with garbage destroy profitable land, and take many years to regain the nutrients and the land destroyed. Sewage water poured into oceans poison fish and other marine wildlife. Emissions that come out of cars limit the amount of air and oxygen we have to breathe. As you can see, garbage is harmful to our environment.

Garbage is very harmful to our environment because of the ways it is currently being disposed. Some of the ways we currently dispose of it are recycling, composting, hazardous material disposal, landfills, and incineration. Recycling is a cost-effective way to dispose of specific things such as metal scraps, paper, and plastic because it wastes less energy to make a new item out of an old item than to make a new item from scratch. For example, it takes almost eight hours of electricity to make enough aluminum for thirty-four aluminum cans, but only takes an hour of electricity to make the same amount of cans from recycled aluminum. In addition, new aluminum has to go through the process of extraction the needed materials, refining the materials, smelting, and casting the aluminum while a recycled can only has to be shredded, melted, and casted before it can start the process again. It takes less energy and materials to make a new can from an old can. Composting is another way to get rid of garbage such as untreated paper, fruit scraps, vegetable scraps, and biodegradable plastic. It is also a cost-effective way of disposing of specific items because you can dig a put it in your backyard and until it rots. It also gives your plants much-needed nutrients when it decays. Therefore, it is a harmless way of disposing of specific garbage.

Properly disposing of hazardous materials is important, so another effective way that we currently use to get rid of garbage is hazardous material disposal. There are certain facilities designed to dispose of dangerous materials that would otherwise contaminate land if put into a landfill. Some of these materials are used paint cans, used oil, and chemical-based items such as bleach. One of the hardest hazardous materials to dispose of is syringes, because those contain disease, and disease is very easy to transmit.

Even though we recycle, compost, and dispose of hazardous materials, we still practice dangerous and unsafe ways of taking care of trash, such as landfills and incineration. Landfills have both a positive and a negative impact on the environment. After trash is packed into a hole about twenty feet deep (six and a half yards), dirt, clay, or asphalt is packed an inch or two above it so the smell does not appear and so that random trash does not fly away. Then a tube is inserted to suck out all the methane the garbage produces since the element is flammable. The methane can be used as a form of electricity. However, landfills also have a negative effect on the environment. If it leaks, it will contaminate surrounding water and surrounding groundwater. The water will travel to the nearest ocean or lake and poison the wildlife there.

One last way that we currently dispose of trash is by incinerating it. Combusting, or incinerating, burns garbage and turns water into steam as the same time. The steam is then used to turn turbine engines, which produces electricity. Incinerating trash then turns the volume to twenty percent of the original volume. You might think this is a good thing, because then landfills can fill more, right? However, incinerating trash has a bad effect on the environment. It creates exhaust and emissions, which contributes to air pollution, and air pollution contributes to global warming. As you can see, recycling, composting, and disposing of hazardous materials only take care of a small percentage of garbage. The rest goes to either a combustion facility or a landfill, which both contribute to pollution. Leaky landfills contribute to water pollution and incinerating contributes to air pollution.

Garbage also harms the environment because it results in pollution if you dispose of it in a certain way. As stated above, landfills might leak chemicals into surrounding bodies of water and any water under it, such as groundwater. Then the lake or groundwater may evaporate and cause acid rain or poison larger bodies of water. Acid rain is caused by depositing wet and dry acidic components, such as water, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. This happens when a large amount of carbon dioxide enters clouds. Then when it rains, the elements mixed together kill plants, pollute water, and erode stonework. Incineration also pollutes the environment as stated above. Incineration is guaranteed to lead to a lot of air pollution and acid rain, while landfills are not that bad because there is only a small chance that they will leak since they are usually sealed properly. As you can see, a few of the ways we dispose of garbage result in pollution.