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Rain Water Harvesting and Agroforestry

Submitted by Dirk Rolker 4th April 2013 12:31

The majority of people in Madurai district, Tamil Nadu, depend on rainfed agriculture and livestock for their livelihoods. Water for agriculture and livestock has always been a major concern, especially for marginal farmers. Rainfall has become more erratic of late, and summer temperatures have increased. Due to an earlier onset and withdrawal of monsoon, crops are not receiving water in critical periods of growth, which hampers production. Since water is not available for irrigation, around 20% of agricultural lands have been abandoned and invaded by the prosopis juliflora. Only more prosperous farmers can afford to extract groundwater by sinking borewells. In dry periods marginal farmers have to sell their livestock to get temporary monetary relief and because they do not have enough fodder for their animals.

The project responds to this situation by increasing water availability and land fertility, e.g. through water harvesting, the application of nutrient-rich silt on farms, and the promotion of agroforestry. These activities help rural communities to continue their farming traditions under changing conditions. Moreover, subscription to personal and livestock insurance increases the capacities of farmers to cope with climate variability.


This project is a joint undertaking of the project Climate Change Adaptation in Rural Areas of India (CCA RAI) and the Development of Humane Action (DHAN) Foundation.

CCA RAI is jointly implemented by the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) and the German development organisation Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.