Training Programme on Empowering farmers to climate change adaptation concluded at ICAR, Lembucherra

Realizing the possible impact of climate change and its variability on agriculture and subsequent need to develop capacity of farmers to deal with effects of climate change, a 3 days training programme on ‘Empowering farmers to Climate change adaptation’ was organized at ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Tripura Centre, Lembucherra during 21st to 23rd August  2019. A total of 30 farmers, resource poor and more vulnerable to climate change, from two districts of Tripura namely West Tripura (Brahman Puskuni) and Khowai (Nayanpur) attended the capacity building programme. The training programme was being organized under the aegis of Schedule caste sub-plan (SCSP)-National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA), to create awareness among farming community about impact of climate change and variability on agriculture and also empowering them to climate change adaptation. ICAR Tripura centre is implementing a participatory project on Enhancing resilience and adaptive capacity of farmers to climate variability in Tripura under SCSP programme and the training programe was being organized to orient farmers in this regard.

Dr. BK Kandpal, Joint Director of ICAR, Tripura Centre presided the inaugural function of the training programme. At the outset a brief over view of the programme was given by Dr. Anup Das, Principal Scientist, Agronomy and coordinator of the programme. Climate variability and shift like delay in onset of monsoon, mid-season drought, terminal drought, heat stress, moisture stress, cyclone, hailstorms, floods, increasing incidence of pest and diseases were identified as major climate related anomalies in Tripura which impacts agriculture leading to huge loss of crops and economy. Dr. Das also interacted with the farmers and discussed about ways and means to combat with flood and drought stress to reduce loss. Some of the farmers from Brahman Puskuni informed that during flood they put plastic fencing around the pond to save the fish. Farmers from Nayanpur village narrated that during droughts they feed their cattle with grasses found on the river banks. Dr. BK Kandpal in his inaugural address emphasized on need for changing the farming practices like timings of seeding, fertilization, irrigation, cropping sequence etc. to deal with adverse climatic conditions especially extreme events like flash floods, hailstorm’s, heat wave etc. He affirmed that we cannot change the climate but by changing ourselves we might overcome most of the climate changes related issues in agriculture. Dr. Anup Das also explained how improved crop varieties, crop rotation, mulching, tillage practices; practice of SRI system can improve the livelihood of the farmers in changing climate.

During the 3 days program, farmers had the opportunity to interact with Dr. Himanshu Pathak, Director, NRRI, Cuttuck, Odisha on various aspects of climate change and possible adaptation strategies. Dr. Pathak in his address discussed about how climate change is adversely affecting the farmers lives who are not responsible for this situation. He emphasized on the need for adoption of climate resilient technologies to improve the livelihood of the farmers. He suggested testing of drought cum flood tolerant high yielding rice varieties developed by NRRI namely CR Dhan-801 and CR Dhan-802 in Tripura condition to deal with flood and droughts in same locality in same year. He emphasized on cold storage facility for storing excess produce to sell during off-season which can improve the income of the farmers. During the interaction Dr. Pathak also informed about high protein content rice varieties developed by NRRI i.e., CR Dhan -310, CR Dhan -311 and suggested farmers  to cultivate specialty rice varieties like Harinarayana, Kalikhasa, Binni etc. which may yield low but the market price is very high. Farmers were also exposed to climate resilient fish production practices by Dr. Chandan Debnath, Scientist, Fisheries Sciences. Dr. Lopa mudra Sahoo, Sr. Scientist, Fishery Sciences provided hands on training to farmers on mushroom production practices as an alternative sources of income during harsh climate. Dr. Gulab Singh Yadav, Scientist Agronomy interacted with the farmers on water saving practices in rice cultivation. SRI, ICM, direct seeding and aerobic rice cultivation practices were discussed with the farmers. Farmers were also given some hands on training to budding, grafting, nursery management of fruits and vegetables to enhance their skill in scientific farming. Dr. KK Barman, Principal Scientist (Soil Science) interacted with the farmers on importance of soil health management for climate resilient agriculture. He emphasized on adoption of conservation agriculture, integrated nutrient management and liming to sustain soil quality and minimize impact of climate change/variability on agriculture. Dr. Satyapriya Singh, Scientist (Entomology), interacted with the farmers on integrated pest management and Er. Dhiman Das Choudhury (Sr. Technical officer) briefed the farmers on role of weather forecasting and information communication technology for climate resilient agriculture. Mr. Dipankar Dey, SMS, KVK, Khowai shared experiences of NICRA activities of KVK-Khowai in North Pullinpur with the farmers for their possible adaptation in other villages. Farmers were also exposed to various field activities of ICAR Tripura centre. Seeds of seasonal vegetables like coriander, amaranthus, radish etc. were distributed among participating farmers during valedictory function to catch good market price and utilize land affected by flash flood as contingency crop. The three days program came to an end with the certificate distribution to the participants. Drs. Anup Das, Gulab Singh Yadav and Chandan Debnath of ICAR Tripura Centre, Lembucherra coordinated the programme.