With recurrent floods, storms and erratic rainfall adversely impacting farmers and agricultural productivity, the government will soon commence pilot programmes in Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh for climate change mitigation through district-level contingency plans.
An agriculture ministry official told FE that in the last three years 450 district-level contingency plans have been prepared to save agricultural crops from damage, and promote the usage of varieties of seeds which deal with erratic weather conditions.
“The effectiveness of these contingency plans would be tested through these pilots to be carried out in six districts in three states,” Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA) director B Venkateswarlu said. CRIDA is a Hyderabad-based body affiliated with the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR).
Initiated by the agriculture ministry through ICAR and the respective state agricultural universities, a complete district dossier has been prepared which is expected to help the administration in dealing with the vagaries of weather for protecting the crop.
During the next one year, contingency plans for 520 districts would be prepared, Venkateswarlu said. The district-specific documents have been prepared in collaboration with state agriculture universities and the dossiers provide steps to deal with weather-related eventualities.
“This is the most comprehensive initiative in dealing with eventualities in case of deficient rainfall and drought conditions across districts,” an agriculture ministry official said.
The official said farmers in coastal Andhra Pradesh and Orissa could manage to save their paddy crop this kharif season from the fury of cyclone-Phailin as they had sown submergence-tolerant varieties. Similarly in Bihar and Jharkhand, paddy nurseries were grown in a staggered manner, thereby providing seedlings to farmers in villages which faced delay in monsoons this year.
Venkateswarlu said in terms of dealing with drought and flood-related issues, agricultural scientists have developed various seed varieties for saving crops. “We have not developed adequate capability to deal with the impact of cyclones on the crop as there is a dearth of technology at present,” he observed.
CRIDA, which is coordinating the preparation of the contingency plans, has divided the country into five zones. Each district plan contains basic agricultural statistics, physical characteristics of the district (soil mapping) and details of the crops and methods of cultivation to be adopted in the case of exigencies.