Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth and the Institute for Sustainable Communities Join Hands to Promote Water Stewardship and Climate Resilience with Cotton Farmers in Vidarbha
Maharashtra: Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PDKV), Akola and the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) earlier this week to promote water stewardship and climate resilience in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra by advancing research, building capacities of farmers, Civil Society Organizations and Community Based Organizations. The approaches, learnings and findings resulting from this partnership, will be further disseminated for adoption and scale.
Through this partnership, PDKV and ISC will work towards demonstrating the effectiveness of technologies developed by PDKV, with cotton farmers in Vidarbha. This will be done by undertaking research in areas of socio-economic impacts of climate change on cotton framers, and enhancing outreach and extension efforts in partnership with different stakeholders. The MoU was signed by Dr. V.M Bhale, Vice Chancellor, PDKV and Mr. Vivek P Adhia, Country Director-India, ISC in the presence of Dr. D.M. Mankar, Director Extension Education, PDKV; Mr. Romit Sen, Associate Director-Water & Agriculture, ISC and representatives from PDKV and ISC.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. V.M. Bhale, Honourable Vice Chancellor, PDKV called for the adoption of technologies and practices by farmers, to overcome the risks faced by them. “Partnerships are key to demonstrate the effectiveness of technologies with farmers and bring them to scale. This needs to be supported by effective extension and outreach efforts.” He called for the strengthening of farm-to-market linkages, in order to ensure better economic returns for farmers.
Emphasizing ISC’s commitment to advancing water stewardship and climate resilience, Mr. Vivek P Adhia, Country Director-India, ISC said, “ISC is working with 1,35,000 farmers to test the effectiveness of a package of practices that makes cotton farming more sustainable – by reducing the environmental footprint of cotton cultivation, and enhancing yields and incomes of farmers. ISC looks forward to engaging with PDKV to further demonstrate the impacts of better management practices, by working with farming communities and other partners.”
Dr. D.M. Mankar, Director Extension Education, PDKV spoke of the need to make information available to farmers in a timely manner. “Extension efforts of the University are being supplemented through partnerships with various institutions, to bring together diverse experiences – for the benefit of the farming communities,” added Dr. Mankar.
Outlining the proposed activities, Mr. Romit Sen, Associate Director-Water and Agriculture Program, ISC, said that PDKV and ISC will work on a roadmap to fulfil the objectives of the MoU, which has been signed for a duration of three years. “We plan to undertake activities in areas of research and demonstration, training and awareness through the networks of ISC and PDKV,” he said.
Maharashtra is the largest cotton growing state in India, with 43.51 lakh hectares area under cotton cultivation. Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region is a major cotton growing belt, covering more than 50% of the cultivated area for cotton in Maharashtra. However, the region faces uncertainties in climate – with spatial and temporal variations in rainfall and temperature impacting cotton cultivation, thereby making farmers vulnerable.