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Resilient Agricultural Households through Adaptation to Climate Change in Mahbubnagar district, Telangana

This project aims to develop strategies for reducing negative impacts on rain-fed agriculture production systems, and bridging adaptation activity at the national level with that at the local level.


Extremes of heat and cold, droughts and floods, and various forms of violent weather have wreaked havoc on the agricultural system in India, as reported in India’s Second National Communication to the UNFCCC. Rain-dependent Indian agriculture is known to be closely linked to the performance of the south-west monsoon (June-Sept.), which contributes 60 to 80% of the annual rainfall in most parts of the country. In the absence of adequate irrigation facilities, rainfall is the most critical element dictating the productivity of rain-fed farming systems.

The southern state of Telangana is a semi-arid region with a geographical land area of 114, 840 and population of over 35 million people. 80% of annual rainfall is received from the south-west monsoon. About 55% of the state’s population is dependent on some form of farm activity for their livelihood, making them particularly vulnerable to climate change. In 2014-2015, the agriculture sector declined by 10.3%, much of which is attributed to the adverse seasonal conditions.

This project* aims to enhance the livelihoods of the farming community in targeted villages of Mahabubnagar district, Telangana through implementing science-based, suitable, climate-resilient agricultural interventions. The project proposes to enhance sustainable agriculture practices in the region through the adoption of activities such as soil and water conservation, water conservation through efficient and assured irrigation practices, developing climate-resilient cropping patterns, developing forecasting models and disseminating knowledge experience to the wider population.

The project is expected to benefit more than 2000 farming households of Mahbubnagar district, Telangana state (30-50% of total benefiting will be women), with small and marginal farmers benefitting in particular.

*Download the full project description, complete with full background analyses (vulnerability and climate) and implementation details, from the right-hand column.

Project details

The full project report (download from the right-hand column) includes a :

  • project summary;
  • detailed background to the project including the context, objectives, executing entities, programme components and financing, and the projected calendar;
  • project description and justification and its components:
    • Component 1: Finalising household level adaptation interventions: (Baseline Household Survey, finalisation and communication of adaptation interventions for each target community and household);
    • Component 2: Developing and implementing the Information System for ‘seasonal climate forecast’ and ‘weather based agro-advisories’;
    • Component 3: Enhancing capacities of stakeholders for developing and implementing climate change adaptation strategies;
    • Component 4: Implementation of a suitable portfolio of climate change adaptation strategies in the target villages and farm households;
    • Component 5: Knowledge management and mainstreaming of adaptation strategies, and
  • implementation arrangements.

Project duration: 4 years.

Start date:1st March, 2016. End date: 29th February, 2020.

Project location and next steps

The project is proposed to be implemented in three clusters of the district, which would cover 15 villages (five villages per cluster).

  1. Jadcherla: Konded, Goplapur, Kodgal, Pedda Adirala and Chinna Adirala.
  2. Bijinapalli: Vattem, Vasanthapur, Waddeman, Salkarpet and Lattupalli.
  3. Ghanpur: Agaram, Anthaipally, Allamaipally, Md. Hussainpally and Venkatampally.

Agriculture is the main occupation in the district, with Paddy, Jowar, Ragi, Bajra, Vegetables, Pulse (Redgram, Greengram) and Millets as major crops. Groundnut, Castor, Cotton and Sugarcane are the major commercial crops, whereas various horticulture crops include Mango, Sweet Orange, Acid Lime, Guava, Sapota and Papaya also grown over a considerable area. The cropping intensity of Mahabubnagar district for the year 2013-14 is amongst the lowest in Telangana.

The clusters above have been selected based on their high vulnerability to climate change. All the identified clusters have predominantly rainfed agriculture and about 90% of the households are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods. Due to recurring droughts, agriculture is suffering in the area.

The major sources of irrigation in the region are canals, tube wells, tanks and wells. (a tube well is a device for obtaining water from underground, consisting of a wrought-iron pipe armed with a sharp point, which is driven into the ground). Since 1990, well irrigation in the state has increased substantially while there is a steady decline in tank irrigation, causing serious concern on source sustainability and energy demand for pumping groundwater.

The selected village clusters are not well-equipped with water harvesting/ water storage structures for agriculture, resulting in low crop productivity and replacement of native climate adaptive crops (sorghum and groundnut) with commercial crops like (cotton and maize). More than 65% of the total water storage structures in the selected village cluster of Bijnepalli Mandal are check dams (a small, sometimes temporary, dam constructed across a drainage ditch, or waterway to counteract erosion by reducing water flow velocity). In Ghanpur Mandal, community-level water storage structures are lacking and household level water storage structure is also rare. The only available water storage structures in this Mandal are water tanks. Similarly, in Jadcharla Mandal, water tanks are the major water storage structure (79%). Only 1-2% households in the selected Mandals of the district have farm ponds. Farmers are also relying on groundwater for fulfilling their water demand, leading to the reduction in groundwater levels.

Due to crop failure and inadequate water supply in the district, there has been a widespread migration of farmers from Mahbubnagar district to other districts and states. In order to conserve water and to support more crop per drop of water, the state government has distributed a few drip irrigation and sprinkler irrigation system to the farmers in the selected village clusters. However, less than 5% households are getting benefits of this scheme. A large number of households and agricultural lands are deprived of technical and financial support by state government on agricultural intervention.

Fig 11 from page 12 of the full text: Mandal-wise distribution of area under tank irrigation and ground water irrigation (Socio-economic outlook (2015), Telangana).

Project activities

The overall objective of the project is to enhance the livelihoods (income and nutrition) of farming community in targeted villages of Mahbubnagar district, Telangana through implementing climate resilient agricultural interventions. This objective is proposed to be achieved through following activities:

  • Promoting and implementing science-based, suitable, climate-smart adaptation strategies such as developing farm ponds, promoting drought- and heat-tolerant crop varieties micro-irrigation, inter-cropping etc. for resilience of agricultural households to climate variability and change.
  • Developing and implementing an information system for providing seasonal climate forecast and weather based agro advisories for farmers.
  • Enhancing the capacities of stakeholders for implementing and sustaining the climate change adaptation strategies.
  • Improving the alternate livelihood options such as livestock rearing, vermicomposting and value chain integration (e.g. decentralized dal mill, millet processing unit) etc.
  • Mainstreaming adaptation strategies into policies and programmes through better Knowledge Management and Sharing.

This project is unique in that it will address the issues of small and marginal farmers at both household and community levels. Adaptation interventions will be selected and implemented based on farmers’ needs. The details of preliminary agriculture adaptation interventions proposed depending on the need of farmers are provided in section 2 of the full text (from page 24).

The project will be implemented by the Environment Protection Training & Research Institute (EPTRI) and the Department of Agriculture, Government of Telangana, and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), all based in Hyderabad.

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