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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Climate-smart agriculture to ensure a food secure future

Countries in the tropics and sub-tropics are particularly vulnerable to climate change, as extreme weather conditions pose a serious threat to their food security. In India, droughts and damaging floods are continuously affecting the well-being of a growing population, of which the vast majority reside in rural areas and are highly dependent on natural resources for their food, shelter and income. To address these issues and find solutions to climate-related challenges for Indian agriculture, ClimaAdapt, an interdisciplinary and integrated research project, was initiated in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu states in 2012. The project had its final meeting in May 2017. ClimaAdapt's coordinator, Dr Udaya Sekhar Nagothu from the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, NIBIO, explains that active participation and continuous dissemination of research results and other information between researchers, policy makers and stakeholders, has been essential in the project. "Climate change is a complex issue and different disciplines and people have had to simultaneously interact and work together, and not least, communicate with each other. This link between science, stakeholders and policy, has been key to ClimaAdapt's success." Dr Nagothu says. "In the past five years we have developed climate-smart rice growing and irrigation technologies and improved the adaptive capacity of farmers and selected agriculture and water sectors through various measures. Together, we have ensured that the food security and livelihood of 90,000 Indian smallholders, one third of these women, has been vastly improved," he adds. Farmers central to food security The main outcomes of ClimaAdapt include farmer driven testing, refining, upscaling and finally, the implementation of several new rice growing and irrigation technologies as well as seed varieties. This has contributed to a reduction in water use by 40 percent and a 25 percent yield increase. Eight Village Knowledge Centres have been established in the project, providing close to 25,000 local farmers with good and relevant information and training on farming and climate adaptation. An additional 65,000 farmers have benefited from this, gaining access to information through farmer-to-farmer communication and exchange of knowledge processes.