Climate Information Services for Resilient Decision-Making by Women Smallholders in Chhattisgarh
CARE India, with financial support from AXA, has been implementing the Where the Rain Falls (WtRF) project in 40 villages of the Bagicha and Pathalgaon blocks of Jashpur district in Chhattisgarh. The project aims to increase the resilience of 3000 tribal women and their households to shocks and stresses around water and improve their access, control and management of natural resources.
Since 2013, WtRF’s interventions have focused on climate change adaptation through a combination of approaches, including the promotion of Climate Resilient Agriculture (CRA); improved Water Resource Management (WRM); and local Institutional Strengthening (IS) for improved governance of natural resources. The CRA component involves promotion of climate resilient crops and alternative cropping patterns, supported by the convergence and integration of traditional knowledge and practice systems. Improving productivity of rain-fed agriculture through WRM efforts include support for adoption of soil and water conservation measures, promotion of 5% water harvesting and percolation structures, piloting water audits to ensure optimum utilisation of water in homes and on fields, and rehabilitation of existing water structures through government support.
The IS component involves: the strengthening of Village Development Committees (VDC) for creation of Community Action Plans (CAP) and advocating with the government departments for the community’s access, benefits and entitlements to implement CAPs; strengthening Water Resources Management Committees (WRMC) for equitable supply and distribution of water; and supporting Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMC) for improved forest protection and sustainable use of Non-Timber Forest Produce (NTFP).
Around 2015, WtRF started working on Climate Information Services (CIS) to improve the access of women farmers to timely and useable information on basic parameters – temperature and humidity. For this, weather information boards were established in all project villages. Based on access to mobile devices and connections, 1200 farmers were also linked with SMS based agro-met advisory services. The CIS intervention is helping tribal women smallholders and their households to make appropriate cropping decisions and enhancing their resilience.
For further integration of the CBA package in project villages, WtRF has now set up two mini agro-met observatories in Kharkata Gram Panchayat of Pathalgaon block and Bhitghara Gram Panchayat of Bagicha block of Jashpur. WtRF has received valuable support in this endeavour from the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), whose two meteorologists, Shri H. P. Chandra and Shri N. S. Mehta, made a three-day visit between 9th and 11th July 2018 to the project sites to set up the two mini observatories. During the course of their visit they oriented the project team as well as VDC and SHG representatives responsible for managing the mini-observatories on “collection and dissemination of weather information.”
The trained women representatives will collect information on average wind speed, amount of daily rain fall, minimum and maximum temperature, morning and evening humidity, earth temperature, amount of evaporation, and moisture levels in air from the mini-observatories. This weather information, collected in a decentralised manner, will be shared to India Meteorological Department (IMD), Raipur on a daily basis. IMD will convert this information into Agrometeorological Advisory Services (AAS) messages and disseminate the same to the farmers in the villages surrounding the mini-observatory on a weekly basis. The information is expected to help farmers make sound cropping decisions for improved resilience.