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Dancing with the past tunes of nature to adapt to the climate changed moves of future rice farms in India



India has always been a land with rich heritage of culture, arts, martial arts, architectures, literatures and treasures including traditional seeds. Many peasants have toiled and flourished in this land nurturing, conserving and propagating their landraces. Especially these varieties were carefully selected and collected for specific purpose identifying their ability to cope up with the vagaries of nature such as drought, salinity, water logging by the farmers traditionally.

On one hand, the green revolutionary inorganic techniques – chemical fertilizers and pesticides, confronts the mother earth leaving her lame with less productivity and sustainability (Prabhu, 1994). Moreover, the fertilizer, & pesticide industries, diesel consumption for water pumps are the major giants of green revolution which stab the ecosystems with knives of GHG emissions.

The landraces could grow patiently but strongly even with less nutrient inputs and minimal irrigation. But, these traditional varieties are still extant in the hands of some Indian farmers.

Major challenges posed by climate change in south India are drought in inland areas and flood & drought in the coastal districts. Especially,  the states of Tamil nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, etc., in India are prone for frequent depression induced rainfall leading to flooding and salinity in the coastal areas and desertification of inlands. Hence, the fertile lands have been slowly transformed into fallow lands with yield loss (ICAR,Essay 2007).

Sinha and Swaminathan (1991) have quoted in the book entitled Deforestation, climate change and sustainable nutrition security: A case study of India, that due to the impact of 1-2° C increase in mean-air temperature, the rice yield decreases by 0.75t/ha in efficient zones and about 0.6t/ha in coastal regions.

  • Inherently in India, we have many  ‘Climate adaptogenic rice landraces in India still extant hither & thither which can be pooled & restored back into the farmer’s fields.


  • Capacity building measures include rotational irrigation to ensure equitable distribution of water, alternative cropping patterns to suit the extreme variability in climate, promoting green manure crops and eco-friendly microbial inoculants, wastes into wealth training and awareness campaign etc (NMSA Guidelines)


  • In addition, diversification through intercrop diversification and intracrop (Varietal) diversification have been evaluated as best strategies to build innate immunity against diseases in rice (letter to nature, 2000). Hence, three pronged diversifications at ecosystem, inter crop and intracrop levels builds adaptive capacity against biotic and abiotic stress forecasts of climate change.


 ‘Eco smart rice farms’- biodiversity based ecological rice farming techniques promises to strike a balance against health and wealth of any developing nation including India.


Which proposals are included in your plan and how do they fit together?

Trees for Food Security

Rice farm diversification could ensure balanced income & food security. Inter crop diversification (including tree diversity) and intra-crop diversification dilutes the risks of anchoring of single crop based farming for developing countries like India.  

Solve food/climate problem with Groasis Technology plant 2 B ha

 Adaptation of climate resilient rice farming technologies  - 'less water, more grains'  capability of climate adaptogenic rice landraces could promise sustainable yield inspite of vagaries of climate

...Resetting nature by natural products itself

The principle of 'By the farm for the farm' principle bridges the balance of self equipped 'rice farms' a characteristic feature of 'Eco smart rice farms' 

 India: Chemosynthetic Management of the Water/Energy/Nutrient Nexus (WENN)

The eco smart rice farms could strike a balance by optimising water use, converting wastes into nutrient input and biomass energy production from farm wastes. 


Explanation of the emissions scenario calculated in the Impact tab

As rice land races are tolerant of semiarid conditions, the submerged and flooded conditions are reduced which mitigates emission of methane from rice paddies.The reduction in GHG emission is estimated as 15%

As the fallow lands and deforested regions are brought under cultivation with diverse varieties of rice land races, the land use emissions are  estimated to reduce by 20%

What are the plan’s key benefits?

•Targeted Resource Poor Farmers adapt Climate tolerant rice traditional varieties to develop 'Eco smart rice farms'.

•Rice farmers exercise Bio Diversity Based Ecological Farming Techniques with low input & low cost Technologies in rice production.

•Community Managed Climate Tolerant Rice Seed Banks (CM-CTRSB)  can be established  to ensure accessibility of traditional rice seeds  to the farmers  reducing the transportation cost for procuring and selling seeds.

•Conversion of farm wastes into wealth minimizes input and maximizes sustainable output  in food,energy sectors thereby broadening cost benefit ratio.

•Diversifies organic production of food crops ensuring immunity against disease .

•Socio –economic status vulnerability is reduced with promising and sustainable income to rice farmers in developing nations.

•As rice farming strengthens gaining momentum with assured health and wealth, then rice based agrarian nations of the world flourishes undauntedly in the face of climate change.

What are the plan’s costs?

The budget for organic wealth from waste inputs (nutrients) is almost Zero.

Moreover, as traditional varieties are sturdy, they can withstand the pest and disease attack and thereby crop protection costs are also narrowing nearly to ‘Zero’.

Cultivation cost for 1 acre (4050 sq.m) + 1 unit of seed bank + Up scaling ranges between 750-1000US$ depending upon the developing country.

Survey, identification and sample collection

Sample Collection and Survey Trips (5 trips @ Rs. 1000 per trip) = Rs. 5,000

Technical know-how and field demonstration activities.

Land preparation + Manuring (@ Rs.5,000/acre) = Rs.5,000

Irrigation (@Rs.2500/acre)=Rs.2,500

Harvesting and Threshing (@Rs.2500/acre) =Rs.2,500

Transportation Cost (@Rs3000/acre) = Rs.3,000

Setting up of a seed bank unit =Rs.20,000

Conducting a Farmers training  workshop (@ Rs.7000 per programme/yr) = Rs.7,000

Policy advocacy, upscaling of project –monitoring @ Rs.5000/ year = Rs.5,000

Total budget = Rs.50,000/-

Total budget in US $ (@ Rs.66.15) =756




What are the key challenges to enacting this plan?


1. Are the technologies easy to adapt by farmers?

'Eco smart rice farms’

Climate change adaptogen traditional rice germplasm : Pooling, selecting, promoting  for flood, drought and saline threats of climate change.

(Organic generation) Orgagenic diversification:

  • Rice ecosystem diversification      
  • Crop diversification                          
  • Varietal diversification                   


2.Lack of coordination in collective architecture at national & global level implementation 

The proposal could be implemented in three phases.


  • Pilot phase               - Topographical Trial sites yield response of traditional robust germplasms for Rainfed, Wet and Upland conditions with proven scientific farming packages.


  • National phase        - GIS  prediction of possible sites and practical promotion in suitable sites across nation.


  • Global phase            - Simultaneous extension for up scaling to all rice farms of developing countries using their respective traditional germplasms.


Three phases:

  • Pilot phase - (1-3 yrs including replications)
  • National Phase - (4th & 5th year including replication)
  • Global phase - (From 4th year onwards)


A) Defining the priorities,  - (Flood, drought, salinity etc.,)

B) Survey  and identification of vulnerable areas

C) Identification of areas of location of climate tolerant traditional rice varieties

D) Collection of short listed climate tolerant (adaptogenic) rice varieties and identification of trial sites

E) Teaching of skills, technical know-how, field demonstrations, hands on training at trial sites  for eco smart rice farming technologies and capacity building of farmers

F) Setting up Seed banks and maintenance, and promotion

G) Evaluation and follow-up

H) Policy advocacy andup scaling of the project

Related plans

‘Climarice’ – a project on climate change adaptation and rice production, livelihoods, and food security in Tamil nadu, India has been implemented as collaborative venture with Norway and USA, the mainstream adaptation measures are on the way to reach regional level ( which needs up scaling with respective adaptive measures suited to the diverse clima zones of India. 

Recently, Climate smart rice - Swarna-Sub1 which is a flood-tolerant rice variety has been developed by the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). It was bred from a popular Indian variety, Swarna, which has been upgraded with SUB1, the gene for flood tolerance (IRRI, News 2014).



1.    National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) guidelines


2.    Prize Winning Entry (First Prize) In ICAR National Essay Competition For School Children 2007.


3.    Sinha  S.K.  and  M.S.  Swaminathan  (1991),  ‘Deforestation,  Climate  Change  and  Sustainable Nutrition Security’, Climate Change 16:33–45


4.    IRRI news -20 may 2014.


5.    Genetic diversity and disease control in rice.Nature 406, 718-722 (17 August 2000) | doi:10.1038/35021046; Received 18 April 2000; Accepted 30 June 2000


6.    Confronting the environmental consequences of the green revolution in asia. Prabhu l. Pingali and mark w. Rosegrant. 1994. EPTD DISCUSSION PAPER NO. 2