Climate change affecting women farmers the most in Chhattisgarh

Climate change affecting women farmers the most in Chhattisgarh


#Climatechange is affecting women farmers the most in #Chhattisgarh. Find out more here.

Here are the important recommendations made by @OxfamIndia to help women farmers affected by #climatechange in #Chhattisgarh.

Depleting river basins and receding forests also mean higher risk to human lives across the Asian subcontinent. While India has been identified as one of the Asia Pacific countries facing endemic disastrous effects of Climate Change, Chhattisgarh state located at its heart remains in particular danger. 

Chhattisgarh is one of the few states in India that can boast of a sprawling forest reserve covering 40% of its land area carrying in its bowel myriad varieties of precious minerals. 

With such a huge forest reserve flanking its scenario, the state has 80% of its population dependent directly on agriculture. Since, the method of agriculture is inherently traditional, the farmers are dependent on rains for their primary water supply. 

In a recent daylong deliberation organised by Oxfam India in Raipur on “National and State Perspective of Climate Change towards Low Carbon  and Climate Resilient Actions”, Prof. ASRAS Sastri, retired meteorologist, stated that India’s climatic conditions have taken a catastrophic turn in the last ten years. 

“As Chhattisgarh’s climate shifts from wet, to dry to semi-arid conditions, several species of butterflies, worms, birds are gradually heading towards extinction. This silent move to oblivion is going to directly impact crop pollination and may cause grave malnutrition in future,” said Prof. Sastri. 

He expressed deep anguish at the increasing droughts and famine all over Chhattisgarh state, although rains and spells of drought are not limited to any two areas or districts for long. 

Hence, it’s important to change crop rotation cycle as well. Prof. Sastri stated that during 70s, there were thousands of ponds in Chhattisgarh, that are slowly drying off and thus, irrigation potential has decreased. 

In Chhattisgarh, women farm workers form almost 66% of the total labour force. Naturally, with the shift in climate cycle leading to migration, mass displacement and several other associated reasons, the women in the state have been severely affected.  

The mode of female participation in agricultural production however varies with the landowning status of farm households. As a popular belief while a pair of bullocks works 1064 hours, a man 1212 hours, a woman roughly  works for 3485 hours in a year on a one hectare farm, (Shiva FAO, 1991).

Women are primary seed keepers and processors. However, currently there is no means for future security of these women. Moreover, their options for livelihood, income generation, participation in decision making has been severely curtailed along with heightened violence against them. 

Owing to extensive displacement and migration as a result of encroachment of forest land by private companies and government, the role of women has slipped from being agriculturists to daily wage labourers. 

It was demanded that Chhattisgarh came up with a “Women's Development Policy, in view of the Climate Change Strategy” to draw out a map that answers all issues plaguing the rural women in Chhattisgarh. Till date, damage to women’s sources of income is not even assessed in the state.  

Ranjan Panda from Odisha, Mahanadi Riverkeepers also added that Odisha and Chhattisgarh both have agro-economy and hence, the twin states are facing the worst brunt of climate change in the nation. Several local fruits and crops like mahua, mango etc., have undergone total transformation in their cropping cycle. He also added that there might be severe repercussions in future. 

There was once a thriving biodiversity existing on the hills and forests in symbiosis with the south-west and north-east monsoon. The bowl of rice for Central India now has its farmers migrated to all corners of the country looking for jobs.

The objective to the consultation was, how a linkage could be created and strengthened between the grass root realities and policy level initiatives in light of the upcoming #COP21. 

Sharad Chandra Behar, former chief secretary Govt of MP, stated that India has good existing policies that should be used justifiably to achieve equitable climate change response but warned that state sponsored rush to convert cities into smart cities can lead to major disasters, as it pushes carbon emissions to multiple levels. 

Recently almost 58 countries had submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) as Self-Determined Climate Action against the increasing climate catastrophe. While India is yet to join this list, Ajay Jha from PAIRAVI stressed on the immediate need for banking on renewable energies for power generation since power generation creates most pollutant gases in the atmosphere. He further illustrated how countries like Cambodia and Bangladesh have successfully generated sustainable development options without polluting the atmosphere.  

Recommendations from the meet:

The daylong deliberations ended with a few pivotal and poignant suggestions that are the need of the hour. Some of them are given below:

1. It was emphasised that idea of smart cities that directly result in higher level of dangerous emissions should be countered. 

2. A comprehensive policy to reduce poverty without increasing emissions should be chalked out giving special emphasis on women and children.

3. Change in agricultural practices that stress on traditional farming should be pushed 

4. Measures for soil moisture retention should be furthered.

5. Inter-cropping system to be promoted for multiple crop harvests

6. Cooperatives required to protect both farmer and farming

7. Human Development Index should be driver for development. Participation of women in the agro economy highlighted. 

8. Low carbon development through Carbon pricing on fossil fuels, fossil fuel products and vehicles.

9. More finance should be demanded from the developed nations for their historic responsibility to cause climate change.

10. R&D for renewable energy must be increased.

11. Chhattisgarh should be included in the India Pavilion in COP21.



Written by: Surabhi Singh, Regional Communications Officer, Oxfam India

Photo Credit: Oxfam India



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