Capacitating Farmers and Fishers to manage climate risks in South Asia (CaFFSA)

Farmer with Plantix phone. Photo: S. Rupavatharam (ICRISAT)

Climate variability has a profound influence on fisheries and agriculture in South Asia, including service industry and value chains. Progress in weather and sub-seasonal/seasonal forecasting has significantly increased the information available to reduce the exposure to extreme rainfall events and also for agriculture for planning for regions of varying predictability. These forecasts, provided by local weather services and increasingly by international institutions and regional scientific agencies, can be used in decision making to reduce climate risk, provided that risks factors and associated uncertainties are well identified, characterized, and prioritized. Management decisions and scenario analyses to improve productivity, stability, profitability and safety can be addressed. CaFFSA will innovate in the delivery of climate services to 330,000 farm households in India and 150,000 fish farming households in Bangladesh. Timely, reliable and contextualized climate information will profoundly change the climate risk equation in sectors that underpin food security of millions, building on existing expertise of CGIAR and partnerships with national agencies, agricultural service and credit institutions. Products will be designed to be scalable, with innovative delivery by established private companies (e.g. Microsoft) and start-up agri-tech companies (e.g. Kalgudi) and by leveraging national partnerships in Bangladesh, to reach more that 0.6 m people by 2021.

Project Activities

Using high-quality national and global climate datasets, weather and climate-related risk factors will be identified and their spatial and inter/intra-seasonal variability, statistical incidence, and trends will be characterized to test different pathways through which climate shocks and stressors drive nutrition outcomes. This activity will leverage partnership with ACToday, and assess shock event-points through time, such as food shortages, low production cycles and species-specific phenomena. The analysis will focus on important aspects for farmers and fishers, with decision-making as identified through participatory processes. This includes variability in onset and cessation of the rainy season, frequency and distribution of wet and dry spells, the probability of occurrence of extreme events and stresses during the critical stages of crop and aquaculture/fishery growth as identified by farmers and fishers. Analyses may also be applicable to understanding phenomena such as El Nino/La Nina and their potential impact on agricultural and fishery life-cycle and production.

Test the methodology of developing what-if scenario analysis where climate and weather forecasts are linked with crop/farm simulation models that are calibrated and validated to local conditions. A scaling out methododogy will be then developed within a PPP for delivery via an ICT solution to be acheiveable at scale and sustained by a business model. Capacity building of NARES, NGO, FPO, Private sector staff (CLICS -climate information centres in the case of AP) will enpower 40-60 staff in understanding and delivering enhanced climate information which is effective in changing practice.

CIMMYT will develop a seamless suite of forecasts (seasonal, medium and short range) that can be utilized by World Fish and national partners in Bangladesh to develop advisory and early warning products with a range of lead times for planning aquacultural and fisheries activities, and for farmers engaged both in aqua- and agriculture. ICRISAT will apply IITM's experimental block level forecasts, evaluate skill and application in sites in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

Develop a cloud-based decision support engine with for aquaculture and crop-specific rules tailored to user defined specific needs to provide practical recommendations based on crop-soil-climate simulation modelling, fish thermal and saline tolerance modelling, and other sources of information. DSS will be developed iteratively with national and private-sector partners alongside business models and procedures for sustaining upgrades to and use of the DSS after 2021.

Digital platform deployment that promotes informed decision making by providing instant access to farm-level advisories based on information from multiple sources through internet to mobile digital platforms.

Stakeholder workshops will be organized on an annual basis in India and Bangladesh to communicate the project outputs. Several project briefs and outcome stories will be published and communicated to the next users. Aligned with the bilateral projects in Odisha (Kisan Mitra) and Andhra Pradesh (APDMP), capacity development of NARES, private sector, NGO and FPO staff will be continuously undertaken to build expertise in applying climate risk information.

Cost-benefit analysis of aquaculture climate services will be conducted which appears crucial for govt. uptake and private sector involvement. A survey will be conducted to collect relevant information and the results will be shared through a public private partnership dialogue to enhance climate services at scale. A discussion paper will be produced for further research and development.

We will hold a series of dialogues with public and private sector partners to ensure the continuity, sustainability of scale up of climate information services for aquaculture farmers in Bangladesh. We will conduct at least 3 dialogues and establish and working group that will have representations from multiple stakeholders.

Project Deliverables