Climate Change in India

The impact of climate change in India has become more sobering than ever before. Extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, landslides, and cyclones have become a new normal. The Ministry of Environment has informed us that more than 2,000 people died in India in the last year alone from climate-related events. Yet the Ministry has denied any direct connection to the global issues of climate change.

The poor and marginalized communities are most affected as they cannot adapt to the changes in the climate. This year almost all central Indian states are reeling under severe water scarcity. A government think tank has said the countrywide drought has left 600 million people dealing with high to extreme water shortages. Farmers are the first to be affected by drought. They depend on stored soil water, which rapidly becomes depleted during extended dry spells.

One of the people we have supported, Mr. Devendar Singh from Richkudi village of Damoh Dist. in Madhya Pradesh was compelled to leave his village because of the severe drought. He was unable to cultivate his farm which also left him without a job. Migrating to a nearby city and looking for manual work was the only option he had to ensure his family had two square meals a day. While working in the city, he didn’t have any choice but to live in a pathetic and unhygienic condition. The poor conditions meant he lost his 3-year-old daughter to an illness that he couldn’t afford to treat. Having lost the joy in his life and feeling utterly dejected, he came back to the village for a few days to see if life could get any better.

While in the village Mr. Devendar came across the Village Watershed Committee, initiated by EFICOR to help the villagers restore their land through the different land treatment works. This involves constructing building farm ponds for the undulated and barren land.

His land was selected to be treated with different land treatment techniques. Within a month, his farm was ready for cultivation and in the first monsoon he was able to harvest 15 bags of wheat (one bag is approx. 70 kg) which was more than enough to support his family throughout the year. The family was also able to sell the surplus.

The project also helps him to get seeds from the local agriculture office. He has learned how to farm using a multi-cropping technique using organic farming methods. EFICOR and Krishi Vigyan Kendra (farmer science center) delivered the training of these farming methods. The vegetables he harvested from multi-cropping gave him a good yield and has become a good source of income after selling in the nearby villages. Today Mr. Devendar earns Rs 300- 750 per day from his vegetable on his farm. He has become a role model on climate resilience in his area which is well known for drought. He is back on his feet living happily with his family in his village.

Another story of how climate change is affecting people is Mr Shiv Sing Gond from Bihar. He owns 5-acres of land which he uses to support his family. But, due to the continuous drought and erratic rainfall he is not able to make ends meet for his family. This also compelled him to migrate to a nearby town to look for manual work.

With the help of experts, EFICOR provided training to farmers in the area of Bihar. The new techniques included a System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and System of wheat Intensification (SWI). These techniques immensely helped Mr. Shiv Singh Gond and his family. They were able to harvest 12 quintals of rice from their land which had become almost useless because of the drought. Mrs. Tarabhai, the wife of Mr. Shiv Sing Gond said, “this will be sufficient for our family for an entire year's consumption. There will be no need to go collecting firewood to substitute the family income”.

India has seen a continued spell of dry weather before the monsoons. The majority of the farmers in India depend on the monsoon rain for its agriculture and any changes in the rainfall pattern affect their livelihood.

So please take part in this year's climate global moment for Renew Our World. Pray that world leaders take action now before it's too late. Otherwise more and more people will suffer like Mr. Devendar Singh and Mr. Shiv Sing Gond.

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