MAINTAINING SOIL FERTILITY

Droughts caused by climate change endanger the cultivation of food. Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) provides aid for a program to combat desertification in India.

 

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Two women at work on a cotton field. Increasing droughts are endangering the soil in India. (c) Joachim E. Roettgers

Project Name

Climate adaptation and land rehabilitation in watershed areas.

Term

2016 bis 2020

Country

India

Budget

EUR 10 million

Target Group

Rural population / small farmers, especially those below the poverty threshold and disadvantaged groups.

Sponsor

KfW on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

Local Partners

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) with non-governmental organizations

Mangoes, millet, mulberries, beans, soy and tomatoes grow in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. But cultivation is becoming increasingly difficult as drought periods are increasing with climate change. Most farmers do not have access to irrigation and are dependent on rain: an unreliable resource. There are only three to four months a year of rain due to the monsoon climate. The soil is drying up more and more.

Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW; the Reconstruction Loan Corporation) is providing aid to small farmers through a climate program in five Indian states which strives to maintain soil fertility and rehabilitate soil which is already heavily damaged. On World Day to Combat Desertification, June 17, the United Nations recalls the dangers of erosion, soil degradation and droughts.

 

One-third of the Earth's surface is threatened by desertification

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Women sorting the onion harvest on a farm. (c) Joachim E. Roettgers

Desertification refers not only to the spread of existing deserts, but also the desolation of land in semi-arid and arid areas, as well as areas with little water. More than 250 million people worldwide are directly affected by desertification, and one-third of the Earth's surface is under threat of becoming desolate. In India alone, 65 per cent of farmland is affected. Large parts of the Indian population make their living in agriculture. People are dependent on healthy soil that has enough humus and structure to keep as much water as within the soil, and with sufficient nutrients available for plant growth. Due to overuse and improper agricultural practices, vast areas are threatened by desertification.

 

KfW, on behalf of the Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ; the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development), provides around EUR 100 million in aid for worldwide programs to protect soil and water. An additional EUR 10 million will be invested in the five Indian states. The funds come from the Ministry's special initiative, "One World No Hunger," and are implemented by the Indian National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).

 

"We can apply our experience and skills even further, so that more is accomplished "

 

In Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Odisha, and Telangana, KfW's project supports the cultivation of permanent crops which protect the soil from erosion in steep locations. It promotes the mulching of soils with crop waste, alternating crops and improved fertilization. German development cooperation has 25 years of experience with such methods, which help to maintain soil fertility and a functioning water supply. "Erosion control and soil-conserving farming methods have been successfully introduced and implemented in many countries in Asia and Africa," explained KfW expert Jürgen Fechter. "But we can apply our experience and skills even further, so that more is accomplished."

 

(c) Joachim E. Roettgers
Transport of the onion harvest with an ox cart. (c) Joachim E. Roettgers

The program area is estimated to benefit up to 36,000 households, which are expected to increase their revenues by about 20 percent. This means, for example, that a farmer will harvest two tons of mangoes more per year. A total of 40,000 hectares of land will be secured and preserved in the future.

KfW funds comparable programs in Ethiopia and Burkina Faso with another EUR 20 million from the "One World No Hunger" initiative.

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A Project by

GIZ

Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW)

The KfW [Credit Institute for Reconstruction] is one of the leading development banks in the world. On behalf of the Federal Government, the KfW development department finances developmental projects worldwide.

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