Food Security in Climate-Challenged Regions
Long-term or sudden changes in climate, including droughts, desertification, sea level rise, and disruption of seasonal weather patterns, displace millions of people every year.2 These people are known as climate refugees; people who are forced to abandon their former home due to extreme environmental pressure. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) reported that over 42 million people were displaced in Asia and the Pacific in 2010 and 2011, mainly as a result of floods, storms, and heat and cold waves.3
The Sundarban Delta of South-Eastern India and South-Western Bangladesh is a uniquely vulnerable region that experiences frequent hurricanes, floods, and tsunamis that cause extreme food shortages, disease spread, and death.4 It is also home to a large population of people living in scattered, often remote islands with poor access to basic facilities such as health, education, roads, sanitation, clean water and electricity.
In 2009, Cyclone Aila tore through the Sundarban Delta and left extensive agricultural damage and loss of life in its wake. Thousands fell ill to the deadly cholera outbreak that followed and in the end, over a million people were left without homes or livelihoods. A recent study found that traumatic climatic changes like Aila incite a cycle of chronic poverty, low resilience to disease, and create physical barriers to healthcare services.5
Local populations in the Sundarban Delta largely depend on climate-sensitive livelihoods such as small scale agriculture and fishing. Farmers are often unaware of modern farming techniques and practices to increase productivity and protect crops from environmental damage to achieve profits in local markets. Our goal is to provide education programs to reinvigorate the agricultural potential of the Sundarban Delta. We believe this local empowerment is an important catalyst for improving nutritional health and food security while creating a sustainable source of income for people living in this region.
Our Activities Will Include:
- Providing on-the-ground education programs to teach farmers low-resource setting techniques, such as seed preservation and vermicompost, in agriculture.
- Diversifying agriculture to include vegetables, rice, floriculture, crab and shrimp farming, poultry and dairy farming, and beekeeping to strengthen the market for these products6.
- Creating cooperatives to enhance market linkages through better transportation and infrastructure and propagate fair trading practices in the region.
- Educating population on alternative livelihoods and provide vocational training in production, design, and marketing of handicrafts including fishnets, printed silk, incense sticks, and woodcrafts at local markets.
Agriculture in the Sundarban Delta
We are currently surveying soil conditions, collecting socioeconomic and nutrition data, and mapping road and waterway transportation infrastructure to determine appropriately tailored programs for several unique villages (gram panchyat) in the Sandeshkhali region of India.
- Dairy cattle, sheep, and goats
- Chickens (Eggs, Meat)
- Seed Preservation
- Rainwater harvest and irrigation
- Floriculture (flower farming)