CREATING SAFETY NETS FOR INDIGENOUS PADDY GROWER: Farmers who practice subsistence farming on small landholdings account for more than 80 percent of the total population. Although smallholders are the future of sustainable agriculture, they are frequently at the crossroads of climate change, which is causing rice growers to become increasingly concerned.
This is a case study of paddy farmers in the Barajuri panchayat of East Singhbhum district who have chosen indigenous rice breeds as a means of preserving their livelihoods in the face of climate change. We describe the institutional environment in which these farmers work and compare it to communities that confront similar challenges but employ different species of crops.
According to the IPCC 2014, rainfed agriculture that does not adopt adaptation measures could lose up to 50% of its crop yield. Due to the short rainy season, the agricultural community faces threat to its livelihood. The impact of climate change on the agriculture sector is the reduction of water availability, erratic rainfall leading to flash floods, and reduction of arable land.
When the Centre for World Solidarity intervened in the panchayat area in the year 2021 with the intention to improve the quality of life with sustainable agricultural techniques and empowering women, they convinced few women to grow Indigenous variety and its long-term benefits. As the Farmers in the areas have been exclusively subsistence crop growers and have refrained from engaging in growing indigenous varieties as their yield is low compared to hybrid varieties of Swarna, Lalat, etc.
Understanding the challenges Centre for World Solidarity ensured the market support through FPO Ajeevika Bhoomi-Ka and emphasised the importance of hulling the indigenous variety in Dhenki. To start with two CIG consisting of 6 women were formed they processed 1000 kg of balibhojuna paddy and earned up to Rs 5000 approximately in two months. CWS is now presently, with technical help from IIT will introduce the mechanised dhenki which will give impetus to the development of the value chain of the indigenous rice subsequently mitigating the climate change, improving the economic condition, and reducing the gender gap.