Article written by Eshwer Kale published in the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) (Vol. 52, Issue No. 3 dated 21 Jan, 2017)
Scenario 1: Food prices have nearly doubled between 2004 and 2008 and continue to remain high. Prices of staples like wheat, rice and maize doubled and tripled in the last five years. While a range of factors have contributed to food price rises, financial speculation in agricultural commodities, believe many, has magnified market volatility.
Scenario 2: Biological diversity -- crop diversity -- the biological foundation of agriculture, the raw material of evolution in our agricultural crops is crumbling; A mass extinction is underway in our fields, in our agricultural system.And that this mass extinction is taking place with very few people noticing and even fewer caring.
Scenario 3: Climate change is no longer an issue for the distant future. The impacts of higher temperatures, more variable precipitation, more extreme weather events, that are felt world over and more particularly in South Asia will continue to intensify .
With a combination of these 3 scenarios – volatile markets and escalating food prices, a fast depleting bio-diversity , and the almost-upon-us climate change,agriculture looks to be on the brink of disaster . What then are our options? Our story from Damarigedda in one such story which promises to sustainably adapt where 14 farmers have taken up SRI method for their rice cultivation. In Sattechiwadi, a combination of eco-systemic solutions, are proving that though time is running out fast, we might still be able to back-pedal. Balu's concern about the depleting bio-diversity and his efforts to shore up a crumbling foundation is just the beginning. And the questions on Alternate Energy raises questions that will not allow us to be smug about Renewable Energy being a always-there-backup.
There is reason why we picked these stories from our Watershed villages to share. Real-life stories. Because we believe that in the context of the Deadly Trio, just development is not enough. Even Sustainable Development is not enough. Peoplewill anyway Adapt to Climate Change. But who and how? What perhaps could lead us through the current chaos is Adaptive Sustainable Development... and these stories are glimpses of what could be made possible.