Climate change has affected farmers in so many ways, it’s difficult to count on your finger tips. The popular view on climate change altering crop patterns, skewing yields and changing regional economies has triggered the interest of most livelihood researchers over the last decade.
In India, a new grant was announced this week to improve livelihoods and food security of farmers in three states — Punjab, Gujarat and either Bihar or Jharkhand. These states have a significant stake in India’s overall food security. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will award a $1.7 million grant to the Centers for International Projects Trust (CIPT).
The Trust will implement what is being called the ‘Water-Agriculture-Livelihood Security in India’ programme. The grant will be used towards public and private sector collaborations and will look at innovations that ensure better agricultural practices.
The programme will support local farmers set up innovative and integrated water and energy saving technologies and practices thereby trying to ensure better yields and incomes for farmers. It will look at introducing best practices in groundwater management, improving water and energy policies.
Partners in this programme include state governments, agricultural universities and research institutes, the Indian Council for Agricultural Research, Columbia University in the US, and agri-businesses.
The key to the success of such programmes will be empowering farmers with technology. As father of India’s Green Revolution M. S. Swaminathan argues in this article in Nature India: “This impending food crisis can be solved to some extent if we can turn the small and marginal farmers, now eligible for institutional credit, to science and technology based farming methods.”
Hope programmes such as these fall back on technology to create sustainable models that last a while and not end with a couple of yields.