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Climate-Proofing Fish Farming

Submitted by Dirk Rolker 5th April 2013 5:12

Small farmers in Madhya Pradesh’s Dhar district traditionally depend on rain-fed agriculture for their livelihood. Some areas are irrigated with ground water. However, groundwater extraction has reached a critical stage, since recharge rates are low. Lately, farmers have also been affected by changes in rainfall patterns, such as decreases in pre- and post-monsoon rainfall and a shift in the onset of the monsoon. Rising temperatures are another challenge.

To increase livelihood options, the Government of Madhya Pradesh has initiated the Meenakshi sub scheme of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). The goal of MGNREGS is to enhance livelihood security in rural areas by guaranteeing at least 100 days of wage employment a year. The Meenakshi sub scheme aims to provide alternative income sources to farmers by constructing small ponds or hatcheries for fish farming on sections of their land.

The sustainability of these activities is threatened by changes in precipitation and temperature. Since high intensive rainfall events have become more frequent, causing surface runoff, the siltation rates of ponds are increasing. In addition, rising temperatures are likely to affect fisheries, e.g. changes in the breeding period, growth retardation and declining overall production. The project assesses whether ponds constructed under the Meenakshi sub scheme are technically sound, and whether institutional arrangements are appropriate for dealing with the additional challenges posed by the impacts of climate change. This assessment process is known as ‘climate-proofing’. Recommendations arising from this process are to instigate a policy dialogue at state level with the overall aim of making the Meenakshi guidelines ‘climate-proof’.


This project is a joint undertaking of the project Climate Change Adaptation in Rural Areas of India (CCA RAI) and Towards Action and Learning (TAAL).

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.