Empowering Marginalized Farming Communities in the Face of Climate Change

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The Odisha Integrated Irrigation Project

The OIIPCRA project is generously supported by The World Bank and implemented by ICARDA in collaboration with the Department of Water Resources & Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment (DAFE), Government of Odisha, India. 

India is home to over 1.4 billion people, making it the world’s most populous country and the fourth-largest country in the world in terms of agricultural output. An innovative ICARDA-led initiative in the Odisha state of Eastern India aims to revolutionize farming practices and enhance agricultural sustainability. The Odisha Integrated Irrigation Project for Climate Resilient Agriculture (OIIPCRA) introduces climate-resilient pulse crop varieties such as grasspea, chickpea, lentil, field pea, green gram, and black gram along with sustainable seed systems and improved management practices such as water harvesting in highland areas to enable crop production during fallow, low-rain periods. This project, running from 2021 – 2025, focuses on improving water use efficiency, crop productivity, and livelihoods of smallholder communities. It emphasizes forming and strengthening Producer Groups and Farmer Producer Organizations to facilitate project implementation and foster market linkages.

Group Picture

A project-related workshop organized by ICARDA on January 31, 2024, discussed the farmers’ collectives’ participatory upscaling of pulse varieties, technologies, and seed-input market systems, promoting climate-smart crop intensification in tank command areas in Odisha (areas that are irrigated through stored water in tanks as part of water harvesting projects).

The workshop facilitated discussions on climate resilience, effective water management, value addition, and market linkages. It provided a platform for stakeholders to share insights on integrating cutting-edge technologies with traditional knowledge. New technologies were discussed, such as the introduction of suitable, short-duration varieties of crops like grasspea, chickpea, lentil, field pea, green gram, and black gram, used alongside good crop management practices to enable additional crops during fallow periods. In addition, the introduction of mechanizations such as spiral graders to filter out inferior seeds and the use of moisture meters to improve water efficiency was also demonstrated.

Dr. Shiv Kumar

ICARDA’s country manager for India, Dr. Shiv Kumar, stressed the importance of expanding successful innovative seed system initiatives, incl. the community-based pulse seed system in Odisha’s Kalahandi district. This initiative and the Kalahandi Pulse Farmer Producer Company aim to extend the project’s impact and benefit local communities through climate-smart intensification.

Prem Kumar Chaudhary

“The Kalahandi Pulse Farmer Producer Company promoted under the OIIPCRA project, is a commendable example of an end-to-end service model that increases farmers’ access to quality seeds, making them more affordable and readily available,” said Mr. Prem Kumar Chaudhary, the Director of Agriculture and Food Production, DAFE, representing the Government of Odisha. During the technical session, panel members highlighted tangible benefits for farmers, such as improved food and nutritional security, increased income, and diversification of rice fallow.

Rohit Kumar Lenka

Mr. Rohit Kumar Lenka, Director of Horticulture, DAFE, Government of Odisha, explained, “The OIIPCRA project provides an excellent platform for farmers to integrate innovative technologies with their indigenous traditional knowledge, enhancing their resilience to climate change.”

The workshop successfully fostered collaboration and knowledge sharing among partners, laying the foundation for strategic project implementation in the future. ICARDA and its partners remain committed to strengthening the climate resilience of marginalized farming communities in Odisha, positively impacting livelihoods and agricultural systems in the region.

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