Climate-smart villages in Bangladesh, India and Nepal

56 years old Kamla Devi listens to messages of weather and best climate friendly crop practices on her mobile phone while working in the cowshed at her home in Anjanthalli. Image by Prashanth Vishwanathan. Used with permission.

CSV-KARNAL56-year-old Kamla Devi listens to messages about the weather and best climate-friendly crop practices on her mobile phone while working in the cowshed at her home in Anjanthalli village. Image by Prashanth Vishwanathan. Used with permission.

One of the initiatives to come out of the United Nations’ summit on climate change on September 23 was the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture, a group of 16 countries and 37 organizations that aim to enable 500 million farmers around the world to practice climate-smart agriculture by 2030.

What is climate-smart agriculture? It’s the idea of helping farmers adapt to changing climates while weaning them off techniques and technologies that produce greenhouse gases. In a number of countries in Africa and Asia, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a global consortium dedicated to agriculture research, has already set up “climate-smart villages” to put the idea into practice (the CGIAR is a founding member of the UN alliance).

Farmers in northern India have grown used to a wide range of weather, and work their fields around monsoon seasons that regularly bring them torrential rains. But as climate change begins to change the weather, scientists predict that growing conditions in the country are likely to become even more challenging and could alternate abruptly between periods of severe rainstorms and drought, according to the group.

In response to the farming challenges brought on by climate change, the CGIAR’s research program on Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security, together with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre and partner organizations are introducing a portfolio of climate-smart agriculture practices and technologies in their climate-smart villages.

Paramjeet Singh uses the “Green Seeker” to check the nutrient levels of his paddy fields in Uncha Samana. The device helps him decide the most appropriate dosage of nitrogen fertilizers (Urea) for his crops.

Paramjeet Singh uses the “Green Seeker” to check the nutrient levels of his paddy fields in Uncha Samana. The device helps him decide the most appropriate dosage of nitrogen fertilizers (Urea) for his crops. Image by Prashanth Vishwanathan. Used with permission.

Researchers, farmers’ cooperatives, government bodies and private sector partners are working together at these villages to identify which agriculture practices and technologies can improve productivity and incomes and build resilience to climate risks. “Climate-smart” agriculture is highly localized; interventions that work in one place will not necessarily be suitable for another.

In India the project is undertaken currently in Haryana, Bihar and Punjab. The same model also operates in Khulna, Bangladesh and Rupandehi in Nepal. This video explains the idea behind the villages:


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