National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture- Averting Climate Refugee Class Creation!

Sep 23rd, 2011 | By | Category: Adaptation, Advocacy, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Capacity Development, Ecosystem Functions, Financing, Food, Global Warming, Governance, Government Policies, Green House Gas Emissions, India, Information and Communication, Lessons, Livelihood, M-20 CAMPAIGN, Opinion, Poverty, Technologies, Vulnerability, Women, Youth Speak

Ms.Suman K ASuman K A: The National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), one of the eight missions under the NAPCC, lays emphasis on four key functional areas and ten important dimensions. Through these, the mission seeks to target both; the imminent challenges from the likely impacts of climate change on Indian agriculture and the more fundamental ones in food security, equitable access to  food resources, livelihoods and economic stability at the national level.

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The mission seeks to achieve those objectives through strategic interventions at the agro climatic zones ranging from improved crop seeds, livestock and fish culture to livelihood diversification. The mission rightly acknowledges that the likely adverse impacts of climate change on Indian agriculture can lead to a new class of community called ‘Climate Refugees’ comprising of people impacted by variable and extreme climate events.

I sense a large section of such climate refugee population would be women.

And hence see a strong need to sensitize and advocate suitable components within the framework of NMSA. For the purpose of illustration, the four functional areas and the ten key dimensions of the NMSA framework are shown below.

Figure 1: NMSA Function Areas and Dimensions. Source: NMSA Draft, 2010

Following the framework and the ten dimension interventions, we suggest a set of gender sensitization components that have the potential for far reaching impact on the stagnating and climate threatened agriculture of India.

Mission Interventions


Suggestions on Gender Components

Improved Crop Seeds, Livestock and Fish Culture

  1. Promoting Use of Bio technology
  2. Research and Promotion of C4 pathways in C3 plants
  3. Conserving Indigeneous Genetic Resources
  4. PPP in R & D Management and Dissemination of improved varieties
  5. Conserving Agricultural Heritage
  1. Launching short courses in plant breeding technologies with special focus on women uptake
  2.  Up scaling Honey Bee like Networks to capture indigenous genetic resource conservation practices driven by indigenous women communities
  3.  Picking and developing Agriculture Heritage Sites that provide sufficient opportunities for women to not only participate but also to manage and conserve the heritage of such sites
  4. Increasing the pool of women plant breeders
Water Efficiency

  1. Promoting water use efficiency in Irrigation
  2. Research and Development in the areas of energy efficient water systems
  3. Developing mechanism for integrated management of rainwater, surface and ground water
  4. Policy instrument for PPP
  5. Strengthen local institutions in managing water allocation and utilization
  1. Designing and developing watershed payment service models with a large role for women user groups in the watershed region
  2. Disseminating and diffusing women friendly treadle pump technologies
  3. Creating and supporting women user group driven basin management organization structures with adequate autonomy and funding
Pest Management

  1. Efficient, safe and environmentally sound methods of pest management
  2. Incentivizing research commercial production and marketing of bio pesticide
  3. Developing insect forecasting models
  4. Decision and information support system for Pest & Disease Surveillance
  5. Institutional Mechanism for quick response in case of disaster
  1. Experimenting and devising adaptation packages within the NICRA programme framework  in a way that are suitable for mass adoption by women
  2.  Devising innovative adaptive social protection instruments that comprehensively address the vulnerabilities faced by women across social, political, economic, climate, demographic  dimensions
  3. Exploring  (and integrating) potential  pathways to up scale the successful integrated nutrient and pest management programmes in A.P to the national rural livelihood mission
Improved Farm Practices

  1. Improved agronomic practices to reduce farm losses
  2. Conservation and Precision farming
  3. Knowledge management
  4. Soil conservation, Bio fertilizer
  5. Policy instruments for optimum land use
  1. Increasing the pool of women extension officers’ and the KVK (Krishi Vigyan Kendra) base to devise and disseminate improved agronomic practices
  2.  Increasing the pool of women agronomists
  3.  Increasing the use of mass media such as short films and documentaries, community radios to spread the message of improved farm practices and disseminating them through the PRI /SHG mechanisms to reach a large section of women
  4.  Classifying  bio-fertilizer production with  appropriate industry  class suitable for incentives and packages under the MSME ad women centric schemes
Nutrient Management

  1. Strengthening services for promoting production and use of bio-fertilizers
  2. Developing nutritional strategies for managing heat stress in dairy animals
  3. Strengthening capacity for existing soil testing labs
  4. Quality standards and quality control system for raising confidence among users
  1. Developing  in situ soil testing kits, heat stress detection kits in animals  for easy and wide spread use by women
Agriculture Insurance

  1. Developing various models for risk assessment
  2. Designing user friendly decision support systems to help assess risks and develop region specific contingency plans
  3. Strengthening existing risk cover mechanism under NAIS and weather based crop insurance scheme
  4. Implementing region-specific contingency plans based on vulnerability and risk scenario
  1. Designing and developing index based insurance schemes per vulnerability profiles of the impacted population (including women) and adopting it under the NAIS.
  2. Designing, developing, implementing climate smart and women centric  Adaptive Social Protection programmes or alternately exploring avenues to integrate such approaches in the current set of national safety net programmes such as MGNREGA
Credit Support

  1. Developing new forms of credit assessment and risk management systems
  2. Promoting micro finance
  3. Developing mechanism to enhance the flow of credit to critical infrastructure
  4. Up-scaling the Kisan credit card scheme KCCS
  5. Designing customized credit policies and programme to mitigate risks
  1. Innovating on institutional models that bring to bear the collective bargaining potential of women. These could typically be exemplars in cooperatives, women SHG aggregations
  2. Up scaling the Kisan Credit Card Scheme to include women farmers

  1. To formulate market aligned research and development programs
  2. Improving supply chain efficiency
  3. Creation of new market infrastructure
  4. Supporting community partnerships in developing food and forage banks
  5. Strengthening access to quality and timely inputs by farmers for mitigating risks
  1. Successful private sector models  with women as focus to drive down food supply chain inefficiencies (e.g. ITC’s sanchalak- samyojak model  )
  2. Increasing the women extension officers’ pool to drive down community needs and research disconnects
  3. Designing and disseminating package of incentives for women owned/ managed food parks in close proximity to the  food processing zones planned by the MoFP – GOI
  4. Developing and supporting  adjunct  ‘Food Innovation Centers’ in conjunction with the food processing zones so as to enable and catalyze innovations across food production, consumption and security dimensions. Such innovation centers could be driven by top notch women agricultural scientists in order to effectively meet the capacity building objectives of the mission
  5. Designing and developing women owned /managed hub-spoke models of food and forage banks
Access to Information

  1. Minimizing information asymmetry through ICT-based systems
  2. Public Private Partnership to develop technology based solution for providing farmers with information on price discovery, commodity arrivals, mandi prices, etc.
  3. Building an ICT enabled Knowledge Management network
  4. To create, manage and develop national resource portal
  1. Creating a nationwide Agro-climate Learning Alliance  to inter-connect  players across the top 40  agriculture value chains and have women as key resource persons to drive both the content and collaborations necessary for the LA success
Livelihood Diversification

  1. Mitigation risks by supplementing income from off-farm activities
  2. Crop diversification
  3. Crop-livestock fisheries farming system
  1. Increasing the pool of women scientists to do Reseach/Development in climate smart crops and crop-livelihood-fisheries farming systems
  2. Capturing and disseminating small plot and climate smart cropping practices adopted by women across communities, regions and farming systems to ensure food security, livelihood diversification and  farming systems sustainability

Table 1: NMSA Mission: Gender Priorities  Source: Mission Intervention Source: NMSA Draft, 2010

While these are by no means exhaustive, I believe they present potential for impact on the Indian agriculture.

But to be able address such suggested NMSA framework components and further evolve them comprehensively  across technology, policy, development, finance and awareness  axes, I go one more step to advocate creating a new and pilot ‘Climate Innovation Center @ Gender & Agriculture‘ with a small budget allocation from the proposed INR 6500 crore Research/Development investment outlay over the XII plan period. For such a center an INR 50 crore allocation can be potentially set aside and detailed programme of priorities and action drawn up to achieve the desired results on the mission.

Climate change and gender connotations on agriculture cannot be ignored; more so, for a country as vast as India and a sizeable percentage of women depending on it for their subsistence.  The issues and the interventions need to come center stage and must be comprehensively addressed.

I do sincerely hope the climate refugee class does not become a reality with some deft gender sensitization of the NMSA.

Photo Credit: Mr. Gajendra Rautela, Prakriti group


About Author: Suman K A wrote this article for Climate Himalaya’s Youth Speak Column. An Engineer by training Suman has great interest in climate change and mountain issues. She is the founder of Change Planet Partners foundation.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of Climate Himalaya Initiative’s team.


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