This post grew from a discussion on Twitter about the state of Indian agriculture. Why, it was asked , would young people, choose to work on farms when they could get less demanding and higher paying jobs in malls and call centers in the cities? Perhaps, technical innovations that would increase productivity and income might make farming a better career choice? Then it was noted that Indian agriculture continues to remain dependent on the monsoons for water and new technology might provide some solutions. By a curious synchronicity I came across this article on Peruvian farmers using modern technology and older knowledge to deal with climate change that makes rainfall erratic.
The indigenous communities were struggling with new conditions which meant that rainfall came in short, intense bursts and the soil does not retain enough water for pastures or subsistence crops. The weather that they collaborated to collect with the aid of technology painted a bleak picture of an uncertain future for rural communities.The solution: to build water reservoirs similar to those used by the Incas.
What struck me most in this piece is the development and sharing of this knowledge by the community members themselves. Also, the recognition that this program is only a part of the solution. Climate change is going to require a huge and varied effort from all of us, from the farmer in rural Peru to those who are reading and sharing these stories in urban settings. There is no magic wand, no perfect solution, we must try all that we know (including genetic modification) without prejudice.
As I was writing this, I remembered reading about an app that alerts the farmer to when and how much water is needed. I had forgotten to bookmark the source so I decided to search for it and here is the first page of search results! I had no idea that there was such an array of options available at the swipe of a screen! How accessible and relevant are these for the farmers in Peru or India? That will be explored in another post: do share your experiences and stories in the comments , it would be great to include those as well.
(Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)