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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

Is groundwater quality a priority during times of drought?

Poor groundwater quality during drought can have serious repercussions on health, agriculture, income and sanitation levels of the village communities. The present study looks at the upstream and downstream groundwater quality changes. The changing rainfall patterns, deteriorating groundwater quality, recurring shortage of drinking water and prolonged water scarce days across villages of Mula-Pravara sub-basin call for an urgent need to relook at the current strategies of quality assessments at local level and its dissemination through awareness programmes. The preliminary water quality study is being carried out to highlight the gaps that exist at different levels – administrative, watershed and aquifer that impede effective adaptation to poor groundwater quality of communities during times of drought.

COMBATING DESERTIFICATION THROUGH COMMUNITY STEWARDSHIP

Desertification is seen as one of the most pressing issues affecting the lives of millions across the arid and semi- arid regions of the world. It is a consequence of a series of land degradation processes, where water acts as a limiting factor for land use patterns of the ecosystem. However, owing to the current rate of human activities, this natural process has accelerated in its timeline and is posing serious risks of decreased productivity and food insecurity. This post underlines the causes and impacts of desertification. It also traces the initiatives taken by Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR), in combating desertification and ensuring sustainable livelihoods for the communities.

A matter of discussion, A discussion that matters!

It’s 17th June. It is the World Day to combat desertification and drought.

Since 22 years now, WOTR has contributed to fight land degradation and water scarcity in the wake of climate change. Each day we strive to treat and heal the land through Ecosystem Based Watershed Development, Natural Resource Management and Climate smart agriculture in the dry lands of rural India.

As professionals in the development space, we must consciously reflect on our actions and introspect whether we practice what we preach in the name of sustainable development. With this in mind and as a part of an organisation that fights desertification and drought, we decided to have a discussion on what each of us understands by desertification, how we perceive WOTR’s work in this regard and most importantly, what can be done individually as well as unitedly to fight the concerned issue.

Through this post we bring to you excerpts of a stimulating discussion that yielded stimulating results.

Enterprising Agriculturalists: Insights into agrarian prosperity from women’s perspectives

Located on the bank of the river Mula that flows through the Sangamner taluka, Borban is a small, prosperous village with the population of 600 persons. The majority of the village is engaged in agriculture and more than 95 percent of the farmers in the village belong to the small and marginal landholding category. While Borban has without a doubt benefitted from its rich resource endowment, one must also recognize the role that agricultural entrepreneurship has played. Further taking a gender perspective allows us to peel back the veneer of prosperity and ask whether indeed all is well in Borban?