In this article we will discuss about:- 1. Introduction to Climate Resilient Technologies 2. Need of Climate Resilient Technologies 3. Impact.
Introduction to Climate Resilient Technologies:
Agriculture is the source of livelihood for nearly two-thirds of the population in India. The sector currently accounts for 14.2 percent of the GDP and employs 55 percent of country’s total workforce. Agriculture growth rate in the GDP was low in 2009- 10 due to the unprecedented and widespread drought while it picked up again in 2010-11 due to a good monsoon.
The sharp fluctuations in agricultural growth are mainly attributed to the vagaries of monsoon. Some part of the country or the other experiences monsoon failure almost every year and most states encounter drought once in 2-4 years. In Maharashtra, drought is experienced once in five years.
The southwest monsoon accounts for nearly 75 percent of the precipitation received in the country and therefore exert a strong influence on Kharif food grains production and on the economy in terms of agricultural output, farmers’ income and price stability. Both, the amount of rainfall and its distribution are crucial factors influencing the performance of agriculture.
The probability of monsoon rains being erratic at 40 percent times implies that in 4 out of 10 years, there would be an adverse impact on crop production in the absence of appropriate strategy to deal with such eventualities. Monsoon failures result in a drought which has serious implications for small and marginal farmers and on livelihoods of the rural poor.
In Maharashtra, out of the total cultivated area (17.47 M ha), 80.4 percent is rainfed, whereas 52 percent of the total geographical area of the state is drought-prone and constitutes about 1/4th of drought-prone districts in Maharashtra.
Several factors account for the languishing state of agriculture in Maharashtra – heavy mono-cropping in some areas, limited value addition to supporting agribusinesses, a degrading resource base, excessive withdrawal of groundwater, and unfavorable market conditions.
Furthermore, irrigation, which covers the only 16 percent of the total agricultural area is accessible mainly to larger farmers having an access to power and is widely used for the cultivation of sugarcane, a water-intensive cash crop (World Bank 2002).The drought proneness of the state is a critical additional stress factor that adversely affects productivity, livelihoods and the rural economy. Ironically, the cultivated areas lie predominantly in drought-affected districts.
Aridity appears to be encroaching upon adjacent areas – districts that previously had moderately assured rainfall, such as Vidarbha, have been afflicted by declining and unpredictable rainfall with debilitating impacts on the local economy. Maharashtra experienced severe and successive years of drought in 1970-1974 and 2000-2004.
The state Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS), a relief and rehabilitation program of state support, was introduced in 1972 in response to a devastating drought. In July 2007, in the process of constituting a ‘dushkal mahamandal’ or Drought Corporation, Group of Ministers (GoM) listed 166 of the state’s 355 talukas as ‘drought-prone’.
Large tracts of rain-fed agricultural land in the state have become non-remunerative. The agrarian crisis has become acute, with signs of a breakdown of coping mechanisms among vulnerable groups whose exposure to drought appears to be increasing. For these reasons, Maharashtra represents an important case for assessing the coping capacities of communities and the underlying vulnerabilities associated with droughts.
Investment in irrigation infrastructure is large and growing, yet the irrigated area has stagnated at 16 percent. In addition, while irrigation potential has increased, actual reservoir storage has declined significantly, from 71 percent in 2000-01 to 59 percent during the peak drought year of 2003-04, primarily due to siltation, poor maintenance, and low rainfall.
The impact of climate change is visible in Vidarbha agriculture were assured rainfall zone has become a distress zone due to changing behavior of the rainfall. Even if full irrigation potential is achieved in Maharashtra, rainfed agriculture is going to be the mainstay in Vidarbha region. For this reason, the performance of rainfed agriculture is the key to achieve growth, equity, and sustainability of agricultural production in the country. The demand for water from agriculture and allied sectors is ever increasing.
Insufficient rainfall and the growing disregard for the prudent use of water resources within the renewable limits has compounded the problem of water shortages which is being felt even in the irrigated regions. The increase of variability in precipitation being witnessed at the regional level is likely to reinforce the need to look at our preparedness to face monsoon aberrations even in the irrigated regions. Extreme weather events like a heat wave, cold wave, untimely and high-intensity rainfall, hailstorm, and frost are increasingly being experienced in different parts of the country.
The widespread failure of the monsoon in 2009 and increasing frequency of occurrence of extreme events in recent years have reinforced the need for better preparedness, planning, and response to mitigate the adverse impacts of such events. Four coping strategies for preparedness for climatic risks are disaster preparedness, mitigation practices, contingency planning and responses, and disaster risk mainstreaming.
Therefore, for sustainable rainfed farming, there is an urgent need to adopt rainwater management technologies by providing the knowledge to the community about ‘More crop per drop’ to solve water crises in agriculture by way of:
1. Modification in land configurations and cultivated practices for in-situ conservation in rainfed agriculture.
2. Management of ex-situ rainwater for enhancing crop productivity in rainfed agriculture.
3. The impact of Rainwater conservation measures on ground water recharge/potential.
Need of Climate Resilient Technologies:
The need of applying protective irrigation for raising crops during non-rainy periods or when rains failed was felt even in the distant past. With the growth of population and consequent for large agricultural production, the requirement of at least a protective irrigation has increased a great deal. Irrigation in rainfed farming is required not only in low rainfall areas and during non-rainy seasons but also during long breaks in rains in good rainfall areas.
Hence, onward the crucial management of our water potential is need of the day because:
(i) Annual receipts of rainfall may remain same or may even decline if the deforestation continues at the present rate.
(ii) Demands for water will increase tremendously for drinking and living conditions, as well as for expanding industrial complexes and
(iii) Substantial improvement in productivity and stability of farming shall have to come from increased utilization of water at least for protective irrigation in the rainfed agro ecosystem.
In this context, it is necessary to put continuous efforts for the development and promotion of the climate resilient technologies in rainfed agriculture with a special focus on soil and water conservation (in-situ & ex-situ) technologies for sustainability.
The Front Line Demonstrations (FLDs) were conducted in different villages of Akola, Washim, Amravati, Yeotamal and Wardha districts on different in-situ soil and water conservation measures in participatory mode. In all 647 farmers from 71 villages participated in this program.
(i) Cultivated Fallow during Kharif:
In a saline tract of Puma river valley, there is a common practice to improve the soil moisture level of cultivated fallow land during Kharif. The land configurations like the preparation of square basins (20 m × 20 m) on flat land, cultivation across the slope and opening of furrows across the slope at 25 to 30 m HI in one directional slope and contour cultivation with the opening of contour furrows at 25 to 30 m HI in multi-directional slope of land significantly enhances the crop productivity, improves water use efficiency and retains higher moisture at the time of sowing and during a dry spell. These land configurations can also be useful for Kharif crops.
Usually, the rainy season opens with the erosive storms and causes heavy erosion and runoff. Usually, farmers incorporate compost in their land prior to the commencement of the monsoon.
In-situ recharge of soil and rainwater needs following land configurations prior to the commencement of the rains. This can be adopted by farmers using Bullock/tractor drawn the plow. These in-situ soil and water conservation measures can also be applicable for the Kharif crops.
(ii) Economical Sub-Surface Tillage in Vertisols:
Subsoiling benefits associated are the alleviation of soil compaction and improved soybean yields. In order to have the sustainable agriculture, maintaining the soil property in favorable proportion the present investigation has been planned. The finding generated will be of applicable value for vertisols.
After Commencement of Rains:
1. In Situ Rain Water Conservation Practices:
In situ conservation of rainwater needs reforms in cultivation practices in such a fashion that maximum rainfall gets infiltrated into the soil profile and it becomes available to the crop during prolonged monsoon break. Continuous efforts were made during 2008-09 and 2009-10 to achieve goals with following specific objectives, to solve the water crises in rainfed agriculture.
(i) Cultivation cross the Slope:
Across the slope sowing of crops significantly enhanced crop productivity, improved rain water use efficiency and retained higher moisture during a dry spell. This method can be easily adopted by farmers using conventional tools.
1. Crop productivity by 32 to 57 %
2. RWUE by 31.25%
3. Soil moisture by 44%
4. Reduced soil erosion by 50 to 52%,
5. Runoff by 25 to 30%
6. Nutrient loss by 45 to 48 %
7. This method can be easily adopted by farmers using conventional tools to Retained higher moisture during dry spell.
8. Cost per ha – Rs.4200/- (Addi.)
Technologies promoted through 486 demonstrations in 122 villages from 14 talukas of 6 districts on 1646 ha area with a participation of 300 farmers.
(ii) Opening of Alternate Furrows after Sowing:
The opening of alternate furrows 30 days after sowing retains higher moisture during a dry spell, enhances rain water and the crop productivity.
Technology promoted through 30 demonstrations in 11 villages from 4 talukas of 4 districts on 123 ha area with a participation of 27 farmers.
(iii) Opening of Furrows 30 Days after Sowing:
The opening of continuous furrows 30 days after sowing retained higher soil moisture during a dry spell, enhanced rain water productivity and increased yield of sorghum and cotton. This can be adopted by farmers using traditional tools.
Cost per ha. – Rs.5100 (Addi.)
Technology promoted through 12 demonstrations in 8 villages from 4 talukas of 3 districts on 48 ha area with a participation of 12 farmers.
(v) Opening of Tied Furrows after Sowing:
Opening of tied furrows 30 days after sowing enhanced moisture content, rain water productivity and crop yield.
Technology promoted through 21 demonstrations in 13 villages from 4 talukas of 3 districts on 83 ha area with a participation of 16 farmers.
(vi) Contour Cultivation:
Contour cultivation enhanced rain water productivity, moisture availability during a dry spell and increase crop yield. It reduces 55 percent runoff, 70 percent soil loss, and 60 percent nutrient loss.
Technology promoted through 78 demonstrations in 16 villages from 4 talukas of 3 districts on 318 ha area with a participation of 75 farmers.
(vii) Opening of Alternate Furrow in Contour Sowing:
The opening of alternate contour furrows 30 days after sowing retained 93 percent higher moisture, increased 80 percent crop productivity and enhanced rain water productivity.
Technology promoted through 20 demonstrations in 9 villages from 3 talukas of 3 districts on 79 ha area with a participation of 18 farmers.
(viii) Green Manuring:
Green manuring not only Improves soil fertility but also retains 55 percent higher moisture for rabi crops and enhances rain water productivity.
Technology promoted through 29 demonstrations in 9 villages from 3 talukas of 2 districts in a saline tract of Purna river valley on 112 ha area with a participation of 29 farmers.
(ix) Cultivation on Continuous Contour Trenches (Agro- Horticulture System):
Continuous contour Trenches on waste land at 10 m Horizontal Interval enabled farmer in Mehkar tahsil of Buldana district to use the waste land for Agro-horti. System (Custard apple + Maize).
Agro-horticulture systems promoted through demonstrations on 60 ha of waste land on CCA’s.
2. Runoff Harvesting and Recycling:
(a) Farm Pond for Protective Irrigation:
Farm ponds constructed by the Department of Agriculture are used for protective irrigation by recycling of runoff through sprinkler and drip irrigation during a dry spell. One protective irrigation of 30 mm depth in medium to deep soils and 50 mm depth of irrigation in shallow soils during moisture stress in Kharif and rabi season resulted in the significant improvement in yield. The water requirement of the crops at critical stages is given in the following table. During the rainy season, it is experienced that crops suffer either in the beginning or a later stage and require at least one protective irrigation to sustain till subsequent rains.
By providing one protective irrigation of 30 mm depth in medium to deep soils during a dry spell in Kharif the yield levels, water use efficiency and B:C ratio was observed to be significantly enhanced over the period of four years by 100 farmers as shown below.
Technology promoted through 48 demonstrations (Kharif and Rabi) in 32 villages from 5 talukas of 3 districts on 240 ha area with the participation of 45 farmers.
The water surface in the farm pond of 30 x 30 x 3 and 20 x 20 x 3 m with the capacity of 0.741 and 1.971 TMC.
Loss of water from farm pond is through seepage and evaporation. About 19 percent water is lost by evaporation. Seepage can be controlled by using plastics, tiles etc. To reduce the evaporation losses, neem oil should be spread @ 30 to 40 m/m2 area.
a. Reduction in Evaporation – up to 15percent
b. Technology promoted through 15 demonstrations in 15 villages from 5 talukas of 3 districts.
The lower side of the field suffers from water stagnation causing an anaerobic condition. Farmers loose crop on one fifth of the area due to poor drainage. A system for safe disposal and storage of excess rain water is essential. However, ridges and furrows or the BBF system save the crop from stagnated water.
Sorghum crop sown on ridges and soybean on BBF survived as water was stagnated in furrows and safely disposed of.
Adopted by the farmers on about 2700 ha area to improve the drainage and to save the crop during the rainy season at least on 20 percent area at the lower part of their field.
5. Rehabilitation of Drainage Network Background:
Widening, Deepening of drainage network and other water bodies like Farm ponds and construction of RCC Cement Nallah Bandh (CNB) in series will play a major role in catching runoff and storing rainwater in beats. From one check dam at least about 8 to 10 ha irrigation potential can be created directly or indirectly through surrounding wells.
Encouraging trends of utilization pattern of check dams (CNBs) constructed under various programs in recent decades reiterate the need for rehabilitation of drainage network and construction of small-scale run off harvesting structures. This activity is found very effective for the augmentation of water resources and to moderate the hydrology of the large farms of the University.
Outcome of this study with respect to enhanced ground water table in the wells due to increase in gravity yield of the aquifer, increase in surface storage in the drainage network and improved stable ground water table due to reduced hydraulic gradient.
6. Ideal approach promoted and adopted by the farmers for in-situ soil and water conservation and protective irrigation from farm pond in rainfed agriculture.
Presently, the process developed as an ideal approach for “Rain Water Management” is being adopted by the farmers on 55,000 ha area in six districts of Vidarbha region.