Rural Advisory Services (RAS) are critical for promoting climate-smart agriculture. Significant investments in strengthening RAS will be needed for climate-smart agriculture interventions to be able to deliver their proposed benefits.
RAS currently contribute to the three objectives of climate-smart agriculture, but they need to play a much more active role in supporting rural communities to adapt to climate change and contribute to climate change mitigation.
To fully realize the potential of RAS in promoting climate-smart agriculture, the capacities of RAS need to be enhanced at the individual and organizational level, and throughout the enabling environment.
CRISP developed a Policy Brief for FAO-GACSA on enabling advisory services for Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA). Implementing CSA practices requires changes in the behavior and strategy of millions of farmers. Rural Advisory Services (RAS) can play a crucial role in transitioning to CSA and help build resilient agrifood systems if a conducive environment for their effective functioning is created.
1. Rural Advisory Services (RAS) can effectively support farmers in adopting Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) practices. 2. Mechanisms fostering the coordination of public, private and civil society actors should be facilitated by governments. 3. Research and training of RAS personnel should be strengthened to identify relevant field practices and promote capacity development, respectively. 4. Increased financial investments should be made available for RAS to promote CSA. 5. Contribution of RAS to the design and implementation of national climate adaptation and mitigation plans should be acknowledged.
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.