Adapting small-scale agriculture to climate change - techniques for coping with increasing droughts in southern India

University essay from Lunds universitet/Miljövetenskaplig utbildning

Abstract: A major consequence of climate change will be changes in precipitation. Both amount and distribution will be affected and the changes will vary greatly between different places on the globe. In the inland parts of Pudukottai district, located in southern India, as well as in many other places, the result will likely be increased water scarcity and severe droughts, with dire consequences for food security. The aim of this study is to investigate different techniques for adapting small-scale agriculture to these changes in precipitation, focusing on rainfed agriculture in dry areas where water scarcity is a major problem. A mixed method has been used, consisting of a preparatory literature review and a field study in Pudukottai district. The literature review provided an overview of available techniques for dryland farming, whereas the field study examined the sustainability of one chosen technique; crop and variety selection. The field study was divided into two parts, partially quantitative interviews with farmers and qualitative interviews with experts working at the organisation Kudumbam. The results when changing to a more drought-tolerant paddy variety or a more drought-tolerant crop (millets) primarily show advantages in all three aspects of sustainability; ecological, economic and social. However, if the effects of climate change will continue or worsen, it is likely that further measures has to be taken to enable future farming in the area.

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