A project backed by an international climate fund has boosted the adaptive capacity of 5000 Bankura and Purulia families who have been impacted by climate change, according to a report released in Kolkata on July 22.
Hyperlocal weather alerts provided to these families under the project have helped them reduce their agricultural input cost by nearly 35 per cent, according to the report on the project.
The project is the first in India to be supported by the international climate funding agency, Adaptation Fund Board. It was sanctioned by the National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD) and is being executed by the non-profit, DRCSC.
“Under the project, we have been developing the adaptive capacities for 5,000 climate-impacted families across 40 villages in two of the driest districts in West Bengal,” said a representative of the DRCSC.
The report says that “84 per cent of the target households are practising agriculture for at least two seasons now (compared with only 2 per cent in 2015) and 86 per cent of the target households do not experience any hunger period (compared with only 2 per cent in 2015).”
“While no households were practising fisheries and nutrition gardens earlier, today 62 per cent and 68 per cent of the target households practise them, respectively. Furthermore, hyperlocal weather advisory services, one of the key interventions in the programme areas, have helped reduce farm input costs by 35 per cent among the target households,” further reads the report.
Representatives of the families expressed happiness about the project. “I can now farm thrice a year, even under water-scarce conditions, compared with only once (kharif farming) before,” said Padmabati Mandi from Chingri village in Bankura.
“We, too, are happy with the outcome of the project, which is the first in the country to be sanctioned by the Adaptation Fund Board in 2018. The adaptation fund experts have also monitored it at the ground level. Our challenge is now to explore options to scale it up,” said A.R. Khan, the chief general manager of NABARD.
“Currently, we are the national gatekeeper for six projects sanctioned by the Adaptation Fund Board and two by the Green Climate Fund,” said Khan.
The report mentions key lessons from the Bankura and Purulia project. They include:
· Leverage local knowledge of the community, supported by IT tools like Geographical Information System
· Set up hyperlocal weather stations, one for every 10sq km
· Emphasise switch to climate-resilient farming
· Develop agroforest with multiple kinds of trees
· Encourage revival of traditional grain banks with women in the lead