by Cecilia Schubert and Dharini Parthasarathy
It is not unusual for farmers to give up on agriculture when repeatedly having to deal with erratic and extreme weather events. For Horil Singh, a farmer from Rajapakar in India, changes in the summer temperatures and delayed rainfall severely affected his crop planning.
“We have seen the weather change to a great extent” he said in a sit-down interview, “now low or delayed rainfall have become the norm.”
The question is, how can a farmer plan for the unexpected? And where does he turn when the rains have failed him yet again?
At the moment, our South Asia Regional Program is working hard to implement and scale-up something called the ‘Climate-Smart Village’ model project. The project has reached the furthest in the area of Bihar in India, where a number of videos have been shot, showcasing the activities.
“These villages will serve as benchmark villages,“ said Devender Singh from Rajapakar in the making of the videos. ”In the changing climate, farmers will be shown how to continue farming with new technologies.”
The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) envisions these Climate-Smart projects to not only be long-term, but also as participatory as possible. Farmers, especially women, are encouraged to weigh in on the activities and take the lead in prioritizing what activities should be implemented in their villages. This is to make sure the climate-smart farming practices learned are kept alive long after the project has been phased out.
Learn more: Climate-Smart Villages
The project aims to raise awareness among farmers about how they can continue farming, and increase their crop yields and income, despite climatic changes. Some interventions also have low emissions co-benefits, making sure that the activities have a ‘climate-smart’ edge to them.
One successful activity that has been rolled out is the index-based insurance scheme. Several farmers have aleady received payments for failed crops that they have been able to invest in new seeds and tools.
Read their story: Farmers reap the benefits from climate insurance scheme
The scheme relies on little financial investment but is a good example of collaboration, linking research with practice.
Working with partners: Climate smart villages in India show early signs of great reform achievements
On 15 July, we will be convening a side event at the Africa Agriculture Science Week, in Ghana, on the Climate-Smart Village model: Climate-Smart Villages in Africa – Opportunities for farmers and communities. If you are at AASW join us!
Cecilia Schubert is a Communications Assistant at CCAFS Coordinating Unit. Dharini Parthasarathy is a Communications Specialist for CCAFS South Asia. Follow us on Twitter for the latest climate change and agriculture stories: @Cgiarclimate