Sunday, 10 June 2012

Indian farmers adapting to Climate change

An interesting article in the Times of India about various reports of farmers adapting to the realities of the climate vagaries in different parts of the country.
Bihar, in northern India, has seen its fare share of floods in the last decade, and as a result of fields being submerged in water, farmers have adopted to grow a plant that adapts very well to these condition, makhana or fox nut of the water lily family which produces white seeds that can be eater raw or cooked.  The makhana plant is easily recognisable by its unique leaf as show below.  Mahkana farming is a flourishing business today.  There has also been an interesting social change as a result, previously the growing of the makhana plant was only done by communities of low caste people who grew the plant in fish ponds.  The upper caste farmers deemed it below their dignity.

Bihar floods in 2007
Makhana leaf

Another story from Rajasthan where according to the TOI article ice was seen to form in the Jaisalmer report (but this is unconfirmed as I could find no other sources mentioning this story... maybe the TOI reporter has been out in the hot sun a little too long).  There desert state has been having erratic and scattered rains, a new phenomena, which has adversely affected the traditional species of herbs and grass plants.  As a result, animal husbandry has taken a toll.  However, the farmers have been switching to mixed cropping in order to compensate for their losses, and as a result, a sweet local variety of melon, the matira, rich in water content and producing delicate seeds used for making sweets has become very popular as it requires little irrigation.