I Went to India and Saw the Future of Climate-Smart Farming

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Dec 04, 2015
Lisa Palmer

Earlier this fall, I traveled to central Gujarat and northern Punjab, in India, to meet with rural farmers who were trying new techniques to combat climate change. Sitting under a mango tree, I spoke with 65-year-old Raman Bhai Parmar, who told me about his solar-powered irrigation pump that was whooshing with water, deep underground. Behind me, he said, a concrete tank was catching the water’s flow, holding it until the nearby fields of bananas and rice needed it again.

Parmar’s solar pump is one of an entire system of adaptation measures being implemented in roughly 80 test sites, called climate-smart villages, across six Indian states. Currently 1,500 of these are planned: 500 in Haryana, 500 in Punjab, and as many as 500 others throughout the country. Much is riding on their success because, in view of the consequences of climate change, India’s future looks bleak.

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