An innovative thought from District level contingency to block level contingency crop plans?
Pune: Contingency crop plans are considered to be the best strategy for risk reduction and building resilience at farmer’s level through preparing them with alternative plans to withstand climate variabilities. So far CRIDA has developed contingency crop plans with broader focus at district level. Nearly, 600 plus districts have extensively covered by CRIDA to develop contingency crop plans at district level involving 46 State agricultural Universities, 7 ICAR institutes covering various domains starting from agriculture, horticulture, livestock, poultry and fisheries sectors. The major farming situations, crops and their sowing windows for a normal monsoon prevalent on selection of a district of interest.
In general much of the experts understood that the district plans focus more at macro level changes at the district level and does not catch the micro level changes. The issues and vulnerabilities at micro level may vary especially weather variations at the block level. Many of the experts were thinking of the need for the development of block level contingency plans including IMD. CCKN-IA has initiated this process of developing “Block level contingency crop plans” in all its implementing states kick starting from Maharashtra. This initiative is first of its kind that has never, ever been put into practice by any other institution except CCKN-IA program in India.
The process of developing block level contingency crop plans
CCKN-IA has initiated this process involving various stakeholders from various department first of its kind in Maharashtra. The entire planning was coordinated and headed by Mr. Kokate, Director of Research, MPKV, Rahuri, with support from his colleagues from various departments in MPKV. Also, Director, ATMA from State Agricultural Department, with representatives from the block officials from the four CCKN-IA implementing blocks from State Agricultural Department. Apart from this, Dr. V.P.Sharma, Director MANAGE, experts from CRIDA namely Dr. Chari, Dr. Raju, Hyderabad, Dr. Y.G. Prasad, Director from ATTARI, Hyderabad, representatives from NICRA. Furthermore, state RAMETI representatives and experts from line departments like Animal Husbandry, KVKs from four blocks of Maharastra, NGOs including BAIF and Private Sector partners like RML were also part of this planning process. The entire planning was a multi-stakeholder, multi domain planning process with initial block level data collection from the blocks by concerned KVKs. In Toto, nearly 52 participants from various departments, KVKs, SAU, CRIDA, ATTARI, GIZ, NGOs, and Line departments are part of this entire planning process.
After the key note address that covers the need for contingency crop plans and self-introduction of participants CRIDA has initiated the process of finalizing the framework of template for developing block level contingency crop plans with changes in the existing district level contingency crop plans. Dr. Chari has clearly explained the changes that are need to incorporate in the template in relation to develop block level contingency crop plans.
Subsequently, four groups were formed consisting of a mix of scientists from MPKV Rahuri, State Agricultural Department, experts from line department headed by the respective KVKs in each block. The task was to develop a framework of template that relates to the respective blocks that based on the farming situations. The farming situations may be classified based on rainfall patterns, soil types of the respective blocks. Interestingly, each block has come up with different farming situations with maximum variations within the blocks starting from cropping patterns, rainfall situations and soil types. This was the key for further planning and these farming situations are finalized in consultation with all the experts. Each block has presented the respective farming situation scenario and finalized in the meeting. Followed by this, each block group has assigned the task of filled the data in the contingency planning template depending upon the scenario for both Kharif and Rabi, including summer situations. This task was tedious and took one and half day to fill up the data. On the second day of the planning meeting, each block is requested to present the block level contingency crop plans. Interestingly there is vast variations from block to block and this has captured a micro level situations that is really helpful for the farmers.
- The draft of the BLCPs developed were far more detailed and specific compared to the District level plans; and these are really useful for the farmers
- The facilitation by CRIDA was very good and helped the experts to think through and bring in the needed details. Senior officials like Dr. Y.G. Prasad from ATARI (who led the team at CRIDA to develop District level Contingency Plans), Dr. Chary (who was key member in developing the District level plans) and Dr. Raju; provided the much needed guidance and support to this entire process.
- The process was participatory wherein everyone actively participated, especially scientists from University (MPKV) under the leadership of Dr. Kokate and the officials from the Department of Agriculture, Maharashtra.
- This also aligns well with the initiative of IMD on Block level forecasts.
Date: 21-22 July'2016