Farmer clubs leading way for climate change adaptation in Central India's semi-arid plains


26 August 2013

Development Alternatives, an organisation working to promote natural resource management in the climate sensitive Bundelkhand region of Central India has successfully formed several farmers' clubs to help the rural community adopt climate resilient agricultural techniques.

Farmers receive training on water efficient irrigation practices like drip and sprinkler irrigation, use of drought resistant seed varieties, organic farming, line sowing, dry sowing, agroforestry, horticulture and integrated pest management.

Positive affect of this institutionalisation process can be seen from the success of the 'Sidh Baba Farmers Club'. The club reached unprecedented heights under the leadership of Tara Singh. He along with other members of the club adopted low input technology measures such as the use of sprinklers for irrigation in the Rabi (winter) season.

This resulted in an increase in the wheat yield of approximately 20 per cent as compared to the nearby fields where these measures were not used. Today, the club is taking initiatives to spread awareness about these climate resilient technologies to farmers in other districts of Bundelkhand.

These farmer clubs have been strengthened to form the 'Bundelkhand Harit Kisan Mandal' (BHKM), a farmer's federation which has registered more than 2000 farmers till date. The BHKM helps its members establish links with farm input supply and service providers, technology providers, extension agencies and financial institutions.

"One of the biggest advantages of the formation of this federation is that it gives an opportunity to the farmers to start a producer company. It also helps them improve their bargaining power in the market", says Surender Babu from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) which is also supporting this endeavour by integrating the member farmers into its 'Farmers' Club Programme'.

These adaptation measures taken up at the grass root level will go a long way in building capacities of the vulnerable communities in their battle against climate change.