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Ecological agriculture in Vidharba (India)

Adaption to climate change by means of ecologic agriculture in Maharashtra in India

Organization: Swissaid, Center for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) in India
Location: Region of Vidharba, Maharashtra (India)

Project Objectives:
- Promotion of knowledge and competence for action in the domain
of water and nutrition
- Sanitary measures and development on the basis of renewable energy
- Education

Adaption to climate change by means of ecologic agriculture in Maharashtra (India):

The project in the region of Vidharba in the Indian state Maharashtra aims to promote ecologic agriculture as a means to improve the harsh living conditions of farmers.
As a result of climate change rainfall is increasingly failing in this region. In order to provide existential food the careful management of the limited water resources is essential. An additional objective is the reduction of emission of climate noxious gases by the farmers. In Vidharba, one of the poorest regions of India, this objective is now tested.
The project is focused on measures at different levels in order to alleviate the vulnerability of the region to consequences of climate change.
Swissaid provides the poor farmers with organic seeds so that they will need to use fewer chemical products. It is also expected that the conversion to organic agriculture will result in less CO22-emission.
This so-called CO22-mitigation potential was computed by CareforClimate in order to support this sensible project.
CareforClimate is an organization assembling students and alumni of the Institute of Technology ETH Zürich who are committed to the reduction of CO22-emission. At the core of scientific investigations by CareforClimate was the question how the absorption of CO22 in the soil depending on its condition and the type of agriculture can best be calculated, also with the intention of making it possible in the medium-term to issue CO22-emission certificates. The calculations showed that by application of more ecologic agriculture methods the farmers can save CO22.
Overall the project results in the following improvements:
• reduction of CO2-emissionen
• more ecologically efficient, as fewer pesticides need to be used
• safer for the health of farmers
• less expensive and more purposefully directed use of water for the crops.
The effectiveness of the measures is audited by ETH Zurich and FiBL (Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, Switzerland).
Important in this context is also training and counseling on site.

Also, a student was commissioned with a specific investigation on site to be carried out in the context of her final thesis. She can do this research work thanks to the support given by FiBL and ETH Zurich.
In the context of her master's thesis she checks in the first place if these savings could be introduced to the market for emission trading and if they are able to contribute to assisting farmers also financially, and whether further projects might be implemented. Based on her results, Swissaid in cooperation with the Center of sustainable Agriculture in India will then define for this specific development project to what extent ecologic agriculture is reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. Swissaid and CareforClimate would like to offer these certificates on the market for CO22-compensation and thus generate additional funds for the promotion of climate-friendly agricultural projects. CareforClimate would like to contribute with direct funding to implementing the required changes in agricultural practice.

Traditional varieties: old seed, new success

Indian farmers are preparing for climate change with old and comparatively robust seed for rice and cereal. The varieties are also proving financially beneficial. Nevertheless, many farmers come a cropper first before converting their farming methods. A farmer reported that after 5 days of flooding rain not a single grain was left in the husks and the ears of corn were destroyed. He had spent a lot of money buying seed and cultivating his field. Now, he was faced with ruin while all around the fields are still green. Why that? These neighbours, by contrast, sowed traditional seed that they had obtained from seed activist Kusum Misra. This saved them.

For additional information: https://www.swissaid.ch/en/traditional-varieties-old-seed-new-success-in-india

Are you interested? Your personal commitment will be most welcome. Join us and send CHF 20 to the project for each CO22-eq ton that you are emitting (in Switzerland this amounts to 12.5 t/year per person).

Email: info@careforclimate.ch