Rainfall is crucial to a country’s economy, especially if a country’s economy is agrarian in nature i.e. it benefits from the revenue generated by agriculture. There are certain specific rain-fed areas that are special for the livelihood of millions of households across the nation.
In India, rain-fed forests constitute around three-fourths of the landmass however they also account for roughly 57% of the agricultural land spread. Rain-fed agriculture is actually a very risky, complex and diverse activity. The upside to rain-fed agriculture is that if it is done correctly, then it has the potential to generate a larger chunk of revenue overall in the food grain production.
With the changing climate scenario, it has become hard to determine and forecast climatic conditions. There seems to be no thorough regularity in the climate which has left farmers distraught and worried all over the nation. The alarming number of farmer suicides is an indication of this travesty that’s engulfing the nation.
In order to deal with the unfavourable after-effects of climate change, the government has initiated various plans. One of the most effective strategies in helping farmers handle irregular climatic conditions happens to be the Rainfed Area Development Programme (RADP).
What is the RADP?
RADP or the Rainfed Area Development Programme is an initiative to improve the lives of farmers by offering a varied set of activities that aim to maximize farm returns. The RADP diverts all its attention on the well renowned Integrated Farming System or the IFS. This enhances the productivity of the soil and consequently minimizes the risks that are associated with climatic variations.
What are the Objectives of the RADP?
The main objective of the programme is to improve the quality of life of the farmers. This can be only done by offering them a package of activities to increase their farm yields. This would, quite evidently, increase their livelihood and eventually their buying capacity.
Looking at some broader objectives:
- To increase the agricultural productivity of rainfed areas. This is aimed to achieve in a sustainable manner by adopting proper farming system-based approaches.
- To minimize the impact of crop failure which might result due to drought or drought-like conditions, flood, or even uneven rainfall distribution
- Restoration of confidence in farmers towards rain-fed agriculture and how, if done right, can actually prove to be more beneficial than other forms of agriculture.
- Enhancing the farmer’s income
- Bringing together a vast array of developmental programmes and strategies in specific project areas so that resources are optimally used
Budgeting for the Rainfed Area Development Plan
The scheme, in the light of its rampant success, has now been extended to be implemented across 12 states in the year 2012-13. There has been an allocation of 150 crores for that year-span. Towards the end of March 2013, roughly about 15200 clusters were taken up by integrated farming or cropping systems thereby covering a land area of 2.62 lakhs. This ended up benefitting 4.0 lakh farmers all around the country, which is a huge number.
Currently, the scheme is being implemented with a set outlay of 250 crores and the project states are estimated to be Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Mizoram, Sikkim, Tripura, etc.
With such a hefty budget set out, it can be assured that farmers all across the nation would never run out of assistance and guidance when it comes to IFS strategies. Intervention from the government in monetary terminologies is a great boost for the morale of weather-beaten farmers who find it difficult to even put food on their tables, due to climatic irregularities.
Monitoring the implementation of the RADP
It is imperative to assess the progress of RADP, and in the technological era, this is possible through an online progress monitoring system known as the RKVY Database and Management information system (RDMIS) which is developed for RKVY projects.
Select farmers are even provided with Beneficiary Cards which would be made accessible and these would be provided to them along with returns from the investments.
In the long run, climate change is largely going to affect agriculture the most. For a country’s economy that’s largely based on agriculture as it prime revenue-generating activity, it may sound like bad news.
However, all is not looking gloomy as there are agencies and institutions tirelessly at work, aiming to make life better for farmers all across the nation. Schemes like the RADP aim to aid farmers to lead better lives, earn higher incomes and this would eventually mitigate the number of farmer deaths across the nation.
Climate change is an intimidating matter but let not the farmers be the only ones facing consequences. By promoting the RADP, farmers all across the nation will have access to a better lifestyle and this will not only benefit them but also us and our future generations.