Mr. Yogendra Sharma IAS, district collector of Sagar, sought the support of Caritas India for developing an adaptive agriculture strategy for effectively addressing the climate change threats to agriculture. The collector appreciated Caritas India for its innovative efforts to protect the food and nutrition security of smallholder farmers. Mr. Sharma IAS was addressing the international delegates in a consultation meeting organised for reviewing the progress of climate change resilient agriculture interventions in Sagar on 13 March 2013.
Mr. Sharma said that developing strategies for tackling the consequences of climate change holds critical importance in securing livelihoods of rural population in Madhya Pradesh. The fragility of eco-systems of rural areas has further been weakened by the several climate change effects including temperature fluctuations and shifting of summer and monsoon seasons. The expertise and experience of Caritas India in developing sustainable adaptive agriculture models suitable to the climatic features of Sagar will help the district administration to efficiently respond to the challenges to agriculture created by climate change, he added.
The consultation was held for reviewing the progress of Strengthening Adaptive Farming in Bangladesh, India and Nepal (SAFBIN) programme which is financed by European Union (EU) and Caritas Austria. The chief objective of the programme is building climate resilience of smallholder farmers and helping them achieve food and nutrition security.
While urging the delegates from Austria, Nepal and Bangladesh and India on developing an effective coping strategy to meet the challenges of climate change, the collector said that climate change poses ominous threat for the primary livelihood sector in the rain-fed areas in India. Rural population especially the small and marginal farming community is the worst-affected group because of its heavy reliance on eco-ecosystem for its food and nutrition security.
Dr. Manfred Aichinger, Programme Manager of Caritas Austria, highlighted the losses that smallholder farmers frequently suffer across the world due to wild weather fluctuations. Climate change has seriously affected farming systems of the poor and the damages are bound to increase if urgent measures are not taken to protect smallholder farmers from the vagaries of nature. Dr. Aichinger also said that research and development interventions around climate change hold key to the food and nutrition security of smallholder farmers.
Mr. Sunil Simon, South Asia programme manager of SAFBIN, gave a presentation on the progress of the project and said that the on-farm research trials of SAFBIN have yielded encouraging results which are replicable and affordable for smallholder farmers. SAFBIN envisages promotion of farmers’ collective-led approach for generating critical reflection at farmers’ level and mobilising communities around climate change issues, he said.
SAFBIN is an agriculture research and development programme implemented in India by Caritas India, a national level development support organisation which has expertise in agriculture, natural resource management, disaster management and livelihood promotion.
Several senior government officials including Mr. Kori, Joint Director of Agriculture, Mr. ML Chouhan, Deputy Director of Agriculture, Mr. Ayush Shivpuri, District Development Manager of NABARD, Mr. VL Malviya, Project Director of ATMA Sagar, other agriculture officials from Sagar, Khurai and Rehli blocks were present on the occasion. Senior Scientists of Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) Sagar led by Dr. PC Dubey participated in the consultation which was also attended by Fr. Robin Devassy and Fr. Shaju Devassy of Manav Vikas Seva Sangh (MVSS), Sagar.