News Digest - August 2018

Latest blog posts

Agriculture going organic in Jharkhand

Organic agriculture is generally considered a more sustainable and eco- friendly approach to agriculture than conventional chemical-based farming practices. Organic practices generally do not rely on chemical fertilizers and pesticides which leach the soil of nutrients, and are less expensive. At the national and state level, there have been a number of initiatives to promote organic agriculture in states like Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Sikkim. 

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If you have watched ‘Into the Wild’ and liked it, I apologize at the onset. There is very little evidence to suggest that human beings function well in nature alone in the absence of basic structures. I swear, I don’t have any issue with Chris McCandless embracing nature and then dying, almost poetically, through the process. I am a bit iffy about the way humans have this first-world view on nature, like it’s some sort of primal reset button which heals your soul and spirit from the attrition of humanity.

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For 29 years, the World Population Day has been celebrated on the 11th of July, to raise awareness on the subject and its related issues.  KC Zachariah, a senior demographer from India in the World Bank, is credited with the idea in 1989.  A few years later, the world also adopted the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992, another significant step towards sustainable development of our society. 

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July theme: Technology for Building Resilience

Being our 25th year in existence, we focus on different themes every month to highlight some of our key activities and achievements.  For the month of July, we focused on sharing some of our work – past and present – and commenting on other key developments related to the theme of “Use of Technology for Building Resilience”.  

Some of our key posts under this theme were: 

Making Smallholder Farming Climate-smart: 

Integrated Agrometeorological Services
Climate change is accompanied by increasing weather uncertainty. Farmers, especially smallholder farmers, need advance warning of emergent weather conditions at a local level. Mobile telecommunication systems are increasingly cost-effective and an efficient way of delivering weather-based agro-advisories to farmers at a large scale.Agrometeorological services facilitate

flexible, weather-based agriculture planning and help build evidence and capacities of communities, technical and developmental agencies to plan and implement climate-adaptive responses.

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Using Financial Technologies for a More Sustainable Planet

If you have heard of the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain, then you have probably heard of "fintech." These financial technologies are used across consumer and industrial spaces and are now being embraced by financial organizations with large global investments.

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At WOTR, Open Data Kit, an open source software, has digitised the survey and data collection process for researcher upto 100% reduction in paper use. "The use of the kit has also resulted in the increase of data quality and accuracy", says Arpan Golechha, researcher at WOTR

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Bore-well Pooling: An answer to managing dwindling groundwater resources in the hard-rock aquifer regions

In India, 65% of the total geographical area is covered by hard-rock formations, of which 40% are in the semi-arid zones. The aquifers in these zones generally have low storage and yield capacity as the underlying hydro-geological units are either volcanic or crystalline aquifer systems. In the light of this fact, groundwater levels continue to decline due to excessive pumping for irrigation purposes. This is further intensified by subsidised electricity and changes in rainfall regimes in the region. 

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Through the Bhuvan app, the images show geo-tagged sites at Mandala in Madhya Pradesh where watershed development implementation has been done by WOTR. 

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WOTR's co-founder Crispino Lobo speaking to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly  on climatesmart agriculture, agro-advisories and the Water Stewardship Initiative. He also explains the possible impacts of climage change on Jalyukt Shivar Yojana. 

Watch it here
WOTRian of the month

Ajay Shelke has completed 19 years of service with WOTR in July 2018. He is currently a Manager at WOTR- Watershed Organisation Trust's Pune office and leads technology interventions. 

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