Agricultural drought solutions are about intelligently bridging the gap between water demand and supply.

Time and water wait for no one; if not used quickly, they go to waste. This reality has a special meaning in agriculture. In places where natural resources necessary for agriculture are scarce, the importance of rational use is emphasized. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has reported that climate change will increase desertification, loss of biodiversity, frequent droughts, cyclones and floods. The impact of climate change is manifested in poverty caused by loss of crops, increased infection and reduced job opportunities. The only practical wisdom is to adapt and build climate resilience and reduce CHG (greenhouse gas) emissions. A parochial vision focused on reducing emissions alone cannot achieve climate goals. Despite the joint emission reductions of all countries, the earth will continue to warm for decades. If not addressed now, it will inevitably lead to worsening poverty. Climate change threatens the livelihoods of 93 million farming households in India, and the potential damages are diverse.

A Case Study of Women Farmers in Bankura District

In this context, it is important to identify and facilitate climate change resilience of rural communities directly affected by climate change impacts. In this context, it is worth considering the example of women farmers in Hirbandh block of Bankura district, West Bengal. Women have begun to increase the resilience of their livelihoods to climate change by converting 26 percent of all rice fields to early-season mustard (source: Office of the Assistant Director of Agriculture, West Bengal), effectively protecting their livelihoods from the threat of total crop failure. a loss due to irregular rain.

During the 2023 monsoon in West Bengal, the government declared a drought, especially in the Jungal mahal region (consisting of Purulia, Bankura and Jhargram districts) and showed significant irregularities. In the entire Hirbandhi community development block, only 29 percent of the paddy land could be sown. Looking at the rainfall pattern, it was revealed that although the amount of rainfall received for rice cultivation remained low, the available water was sufficient to grow less water-intensive crops, thus avoiding the complete loss of farmers. Unfortunately, farmers often lack this backup plan (Plan B) and have to succumb to insufficient rainfall. Problems arise because agricultural practices are deeply embedded in cultural rhythms that are compatible with normal harvesting activities. If the rainfall during the harvest season is so great that the water resources are not sufficient for planned cultivation, farmers face the painful prospect of possible crop loss, which the local community perceives as drought.

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