The Challenges and Potentials of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in Addressing Food Security and Developing Resilience to Climate Change

By Rajeev Ranjan and Vivek Prasad.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Climate change will have far reaching impacts on agricultural systems that increasingly experience droughts and floods, especially in the developing world. There is growing evidence that poor and vulnerable communities are the most affected by the changes due to their limited adaptive capacity and dependency on climate sensitive rain-fed agricultural systems. India accounts for a large number of rural communities primarily dependent on rain-fed ecosystems, with rice as a predominant crop. Climate change studies on India project possible reductions in monsoon rainfall. This is clearly evident in the case of Jharkhand; the state has witnessed consecutive drought years in 2009 and 2010.
Jharkhand is predominantly a tribal state in India. Agriculture in the state is predominantly rain-fed; presenting high agro-climatic constraints for the 80% of rural population that is mainly dependent on mono-cropped agricultural practices. The agricultural backwardness of the region is attributed to the low level of irrigation facilities and exacerbated by the local effects of global climate change. In recent years the state has frequently witnessed delayed monsoons, erratic rainfall, prolonged dry spells, and increases in temperature. This has exposed the farmers of Jharkhand to numerous socio-economic problems. Monsoon crop (Kharif) is considered an important agriculture season with a high number of farmers dependant on this season to meet the year round food requirements. Erratic rainfall mostly impacts Kharif crops (mainly paddy) and thus affects the socio-economic condition of farmers. In this growing uncertainty the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) has been gaining popularity. Using a case study, the paper explores the challenges and potentials of SRI in addressing food security, developing resilience and increasing adaptive capacity of farmers to climate change in Jharkhand.

Keywords: Climate Change, System of Rice Intensification, India, Jharkhand, Resilience, Food Security

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 7, Issue 6, pp.81-94. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.042MB).

Rajeev Ranjan

Program Coordinator, Lohardaga Gram Swarajya Sansthan, Lohardaga, Jharkhand, India

Rajeev Ranjan is a development professional who works on issues of community development and environment. He has studied in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai and also obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in Rural Development from Xavier Institute of Social Service, Ranchi. Currently he is working at Lohardaga Gram Swarajya Sansthan in Jharkhand, India and is engaged in community based natural resource management projects and studies on climate change impacts and adaptation of natural resource dependent communities.

Vivek Prasad

Faculty, Environmental Science and Public Policy dept., George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, USA

He is a PhD candidate in George Mason University. His research focus is on understanding the human dimensions of climate change, primarily aiming to assess climate change vulnerability and adaptation strategies leading to policy recommendations. Additionally, he is looking at the strategies to integrate climate change issues with community development. He also works with the Social Dimensions of climate change team at the World Bank DC.

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