Global Climate Change Agenda and Processes: Scouting for Traditional Grassroot Adaptation Strategies in Arid and Semi-Arid Agriculture of India. Working Paper Series No. 46

Jodha, N S and Singh, N P and Bantilan, M C S and Byjesh, K. (2013) Global Climate Change Agenda and Processes: Scouting for Traditional Grassroot Adaptation Strategies in Arid and Semi-Arid Agriculture of India. Working Paper Series No. 46. Working Paper. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Patancheru, Andhra Pradesh, India.

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The authors are grateful to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the financial support of the project “Vulnerability to climate change: Adaptation strategies and Layers of resilience”. They would also like to acknowledge all the staff members of RP-MIP, ICRISAT and project collaborators for their valuable support during the successful implementation of the project.


The paper attempts to explore how a global Climate Change agenda and processes (covering concerns, debates, negotiations, research-based projections, impacts and actions broadly collectively termed as “global discourse” in this paper), can help enhance the farmers’ adaptations against impacts of climate change in arid and semi-arid regions of India, which is potentially more vulnerable to climate change. After a brief introduction to these dryland agricultural regions, the paper looks at the main thrusts of largely macro level focused global discourse on climate change. This is followed by a discussion on relevant features of farmers’ traditional adaptation strategies against climatic variability in the above-mentioned regions captured through longitudinal village level studies by ICRISAT, and supplemented by other studies focused on farmer responses to weather induced risks. Based on the above, we look at the extent of match or mismatch between the two to identify the limitations and potential of the macro-level global discourse on climate change, for enhancing farmers’ adaptation strategies against the negative impacts of climate change. Information on mainstream global discourse is picked up from a variety of reviews and critiques of the specific components of global discourse on climate change. The information on farmers’ adaptation strategies is provided by a number of studies on farmers’ vulnerability and risk management conducted during the last thirty years in different parts of arid and semi-arid areas in India. The important concerns about usability of global discourse relate to highly aggregative and macro level focused information, projections, modeled scenarios, etc, along with their current information gaps and uncertainties. Consequently, they do not offer apparent concrete contexts at micro levels to which dryland farmers respond by way of adaptation measures. Besides, the global discourse largely focus on mitigation as against adaptation to climate change, which does not help dryland farmers’ adaptations to climate change. Finally, the farmers’ adaptationresponses are not directed exclusively to weather induced risks and uncertainties, but they address the other sources of risks such as market and other calamities. Since the global discourse on climate change has highly skewed perspectives (reflected by its focus mainly on climate change with little attention to other linked global changes), it may not offer inspiring lead lines, even in the perspective sense to dryland farmers to evolve holistic coping strategies against risks. Based on the evidence and understanding of farmers’ traditional and present adaptation strategies against weather variability, the paper attempts to explore some indicative possibilities to benefit from macro level global discourse on climate change. They include the indicative approaches to harmonize the elements of traditional adaptation approaches and potential field oriented (micro level focused) new approaches guided by imperatives of climate change, using new technological and institutional options. Their involved facilitative interventions, however, are largely product policy programs initiated and promoted by the governments. In some way, one of the most significant contributions of global discourse on climate change is generating information and concerns of policy makers about potential risks created by climate change and need for promoting measures against them including the above-mentioned interventions, which 2 ultimately help in making development steps climate sensitive. However, promotion of such steps will be greatly facilitated if some downscaling of current global approaches, by way of focusing on regional and local/landscape situations, is promoted.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Subjects: Others > Agriculture-Farming, Production, Technology, Economics
Others > Climate Change
Depositing User: Mr Sanat Kumar Behera
Date Deposited: 30 Dec 2013 09:31
Last Modified: 30 Dec 2013 09:32
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