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Field musings on the rise of farm ponds and its impact on the common pool groundwater resource.

Farm ponds are being set up to provide protective irrigation so as to secure a second crop and provide water during lean summer months. In Maharashtra, the government has announced schemes to drought proof their land and encourage farmers to construct farm ponds. But is the rise of these structures  in the semi-arid regions of Maharashtra creating inequity in the share of groundwater among farm groups? The following blog post , written by our researcher for the Adaptation in Scale in Semi Arid Regions (ASSAR)  blog highlights the urgent need to rethink on the collective  use of the invisible common pool resource for preventing drought in the long run.

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Crop planning: A tool for climate resilient food system

– Anuradha Phadtare Crop production is highly location specific and depends on a number of factors such as climate, natural resources, access to inputs, knowledge etc. Farm level crop planning goes a long way in building climate resilient food systems. The action research is done in Akole block of Ahmednagar district that aims at promoting […]

A New Beginning

– Sachin Hirve, Ajinkya Upasani & Mohan Dhuldhar Today is the World Day to combat Drought and Desertification! We are very happy to share that WOTR has been chosen for the ‘Land for Life’ Award by the United Nations Convention to Combat Drought and Desertification (UNCCD) for its work that reclaimed degraded land through participatory […]

A quarter of India’s lands turning into deserts

-By Arjuna Srinidhi More than a quarter of the country is turning to desert, including the degradation of agricultural areas (ISRO, 2016).  Analyses of satellite images show India has about 32% of its land affected by degradation, of which desertification is a major component. New areas in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir and eastern […]

Identifying Climate Risks & Assessing Vulnerability in Rainfed Regions of Maharashtra

In a new paper researchers at WOTR examine how agricultural practices in rural Maharashtra are being transformed in response to climatic and non-climatic challenges. Using WOTR’s vulnerability assessment tool, Co-DriVE-PD, we found that caste and community had important bearings on people’s livelihoods, approaches to agriculture, and resource access – all of which affected their vulnerability. […]

One Million Farm ponds: A Revolution?

This week Eshwer Kale, a researcher at WOTR appeared on NDTV India’s Prime Time with Ravish Kumar to discuss the implications of the government’s emphasis on farm ponds in the budget. On the show Eshwer explained that the implementation and use of farm ponds Maharashtra, where farmers fill huge farm ponds, lined with plastic, by pumping groundwater is a cause for worry. This practice, rather than reducing the vulnerability of rural communities, may result in declining groundwater levels and the de facto privatisation of what was once a shared resource.

Enterprising agriculturalist 2: Entrepreneurship and Employment in a village in Western Maharashtra

In Maharashtra, agriculture serves as a major source of rural livelihood. This sector is most vulnerable to climate change, as it is highly dependent on weather, and the vagaries of the climate. Given this uncertainty people are continually modifying their agricultural practices to suit their specific needs, available knowledge and resources. In this blog, following our earlier blog on pomegranate cultivation, we turn to a village in Jalna called Hivre Korda that has diversified its economy in response to changes in aspiration and agrarian distress. We visited this village and conducted group discussions with different landholding farmers like large, medium, small and landless for one of our studies.

GROUNDWATER-A DISTURBING DIP

As many parts of Maharashtra continue to be inundated with rain it is easy to forget that at this time last year much of the state was reeling under drought. While the rains this year will recharge groundwater tables, given current groundwater usage patterns it is unlikely that this water would contribute to help farmers tide over the next. KV Maitreyi looks at the root causes of water scarcity and what the state is doing to overcome it

SNIPPETS OF RURAL MAHARASHTRA

In August 2016, I visited villages in the Western Maharashtra & Marathwada in order to collect case stories for a few projects that WOTR implements. This photo essay is an attempt to showcase some of more candid moments in the field and offers a small glimpse of life in rural Maharashtra.

A nudge in the right direction: Using agro-advisories to encourage sustainable agriculture

Mobile telecommunications are increasingly being used to deliver weather forecasts directly to farmers in the form of regular advisories. These advisories are also used to introduce farmers to sustainable and innovative agricultural practices that can contribute to improving yields and reducing costs. In this blog we turn to insights from behavioural research to understand how and why advisories can be used to encourage the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices and the implications of this for scaling up these services