Enhancing Farmers? Adaptation to Climate Change in Arid and Semi-Arid Agriculture of India: Evidences from Indigenous practices: Developing International Public Goods from Development-oriented Projects.Working Paper Series no. 32 uri icon


  • The primary focus of this paper is on farmers? adaptation strategies against climatic variabilityin arid and semi-arid regions of India. The farmers? perceptions and coping practices are largelygoverned by village level variables governed by the weather conditions. The paper is based onthe synthesis of village, farm and plot level information collected through different studies in aridand semi-arid regions of India over a period of nearly thirty years. The discussion is broadlygrouped under:A) Adaptation practices determined by (i) risk generating features of the communities? naturalresource base; (ii) long and short term weather patterns; and (iii) extreme events such assevere droughts.B) The farmers? (experience-based) perceptions about climate (weather) variability and theirpotential adaptation practices (including preparedness, covering both collectively andindividually managed steps) are considered. These adaptation measures are classifi edas (a) fi rst (b) second and (c) third order adaptations, which cover different aspects ofagricultural systems affected by climatic variation.To facilitate effective adaptation to climate change (recognizing the uncertainties and informationgaps in the micro-level spatial contexts), the following important points are relevant:a) The collection,analysis and dissemination of reliable information on climate-responserelated variables (including farmers? perceptions) in a diverse micro-level spatial context;b) The search for indicative adaptation options for the above inventory should focus on (i)prevailing farmers? practices in different areas with varying degree of vulnerability (eg, waterscarcity or aridity) and other environmental constraints; (ii) agricultural R&D and locationspecifi c usable scientifi c results; (iii) effective formal and informal institutions.The overarching suggestions incorporating the above points is to diagnose and understandfarmers? adaptation strategies against climate variability with a focus on the dynamics,diversity and fl exibility of adaptations, implying search for and promotion of approaches andoptions to harness the opportunities in the changing economic, technological and institutionalopportunities, which may even exceed the ones evolved by farmers in the subsistence-oriented,locally-focused contexts. The implementation of the above suggestions highlighting dynamism,diversity and fl exibility would need both enhancement and reorientation of the capacities of thefarmers and rural communities, as well as that of the institutional arrangements and innovationssupporting them

publication date

  • 2012