A New World Bank Project to Benefit Over 25 Million Small and Marginal Farmers in Maharashtra, India

Development – Smallholder Farmers

A New World Bank Project to Benefit Over 25 Million Small and Marginal Farmers in Maharashtra, India
WASHINGTON, February 27, 2018 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$ 420 million project to increase climate resilience in agriculture for small and marginal farmers while ensuring that farming continues to remain a financially viable activity for them.
The project will benefit over 25 million people spread over an area of 3.5 million ha and cover 5,142 villages across 15 most climate vulnerable districts of Marathwada and Vidarbha regions of Maharashtra

The Maharashtra Project for Climate Resilient Agriculture will be implemented in rural areas largely dependent upon rainfed agriculture. It will strengthen the resilience of small and marginal farmers against adverse climate events by promoting agricultural technologies and farming practices that are aimed at improving soil health, water-use efficiency and crop productivity.
In recent years, climate variability has seriously affected agriculture in Maharashtra, where farming is largely dominated by small and marginal farmers. Farmers have low crop productivity and a high dependence on rainfall. Severe drought in the past few years has affected the state’s agriculture performance.

The project will take up a series of activities at the farm and watershed level. It will scale up climate-resilient technologies such as micro irrigation systems, expand surface water storage, and facilitate aquifer recharge, which is expected to directly contribute to a more efficient use of scarce water resources. By adopting climate-resilient seed varieties which have short maturity, are drought and heat resistant, and salt tolerant, the project will help reduce risks of climate-related crop failure, and help enhance farmer’s income.

At the watershed level, project activities include building drainage lines and preparing catchment area treatment plans that promote a more efficient use of surface water for agriculture, complemented with a more sustainable use of groundwater, which will ultimately improve the availability and quality of water at the farm level.

To strengthen emerging value chains for climate-resilient agricultural commodities, the project will improve the capacity of Farmer Producers Organizations to operate as sustainable, market-oriented, agri-enterprises. It will help mainstream the climate resilient agriculture agenda in various local institutions that deliver agricultural services to the farming community…