This study was undertaken in the Indo-Gangetic Plains in South Asia covering India, Bangladesh and Nepal. This study funded by the Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security CCAFS) programme of CGIAR focused on understanding the local innovation processes in relation to different types of risks and vulnerabilities primarily associated with climate change. The study was led by the South Asia Institute of Advanced Studies (SIAS), Kathmandu and CRISP did research on this issue in India in two states, namely Punjab and Bihar.
Despite growing scientific consensus that agriculture is affected by climate change and variability, there is still limited knowledge on how agricultural systems respond to climate risks under different circumstances. Drawing on three case studies conducted in the Indo-Gangetic Plains, covering Nepal, Bangladesh, and the Indian state of Punjab, this article analyzes agricultural adaptation practices to climate change. In particular, we examine how farmers and other agricultural actors understand and respond to climate change. We identify a variety of adaptation practices related to changes in cropping system, technological innovations, and institutional changes. We also explore key challenges related to such emerging adaptive innovation processes in the region.
Sustainability of Punjab agriculture is critical for India’s food security. Although the production and productivity of paddy and wheat have gone up in this region over the last four decades, this has created an environmental crisis in Punjab.
The state had to intervene to arrest the declining soil health and conserve water. The government of Punjab initially chose to adopt the legislative route as other means of discouraging early sowing and transplanting (such as advocacy) failed. Since 2010, the government of Punjab has been actively engaged in promoting new farm machinery that conserves soil and water (laser leveler, happy seeder, zero-till seed-cum-fertilizer drill, rotavator) through training, demonstrations, and financial incentives for its purchase. These regulatory and technological initiatives to address these challenges do not yet show results, mainly because of the lack of comprehensive measures to address the wide range of institutional and policy changes required among different organizations. However, the research clearly illustrates the continuing role of the state as an enabler, regulator, funder, and promoter in bringing more sustainable management practices in commercial agriculture.
See Chapter 7 “Many Policies, Few Results: Why Sustainable Agriculture Remains Elusive In Punjab” in Shades of Green: Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives to Reduce The Environmental Footprint of Commercial Agriculture.