Villagers working to repair the embankment in village of Tareisahi in district of Bhadrak
Integrating farmers' knowledge is the main goal in this project

India: Coping with flood situations

The Indian organization Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group (GEAG) has documented practices around agricultural adaptation in flood prone areas. The documentation has helped the local farmers to a great extent. It is in high demand, and not only in India.

GEAG has gained rich experience in natural resource management, organic agriculture and sustainable livelihoods. It represents the interests of small, marginalized and women farmers. GEAG works in flood prone areas of eastern Uttar Pradesh and has recently expanded its program to drought prone Bundelkhand as well.

The GEAG observed that the synergy of people's traditional knowledge and the technical know-how based on scientific research has helped small farmers in adapting and mitigating the adverse impact of climate change.

Considering the effectiveness of such practices adopted by farmers and the lack of appropriate extension mechanisms and opportunities of farmer-to-farmer communication, GEAG proposed to document such time-tested practices and disseminate them at various levels. As a result, GEAG and Oxfam have worked together to document practices around agricultural adaptation in flood prone areas over the last two years.

Innovative and unique

The publication “Adaptive capacities of community to cope up with flood situations” is the result of this collaboration. It is an innovative and unique document and in high demand, not only in India.

It has helped in advocacy initiatives to influence government, donors and policy planners for appropriate extension measures, research agendas and (recognition of) the role of people's knowledge in adaptation. It has given in-depth insights in approaches like integrating farmers' knowledge and technical expertise in the local context of climate change adaptation; as well as in targeting small farmers as a priority in climate change adaptation.

More tools

The document has been read by farmers, giving them more tools to explore solutions to their problems. The document is also being used by institutions like farmer field schools. The state and central governments have also taken notice of the outcomes of the documentation and shared their views in a sharing platform.

Written by Ester Veldhuis, Oxfam Novib

Originally published: December 2008