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The interventions on energy, water and agriculture have been mostly in silos that has led to weakened interlinkages between these natural resources as has been noticed during implementation of our past projects. This can be seen in the fact that while groundwater levels have fallen dramatically, agriculture continues to follow unsustainable practices and farmers' incomes remain low and stagnant.
India's population is projected to grow from 1.2 billion people in 2015 to 1.7 billion people in 2050 according to a 2019 report by the International Institute for Sustainable Development. Therefore, the demand for energy, water, and agriculture for food production will grow at an exponential rate. However, 60% of India's irrigation is still dependent on groundwater. The extant agricultural practices are creating an immense environmental burden that is also affecting farm productivity and groundwater depletion, leading to a vicious cycle that affects small and marginal farmers and holds them back from getting out of poverty.
By 2015–2016, roughly 64% of India’s net irrigated land of 67.3 million hectares was under groundwater irrigation (GOI Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare 2020). Studies show that agricultural production in India would have been much lower without subsidized groundwater irrigation. After the Green Revolution, agricultural electricity consumption went up rapidly (GOI Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation 2020). Around the turn of the millennium, the World Bank estimated farm power subsidies to be around “USD 6 billion a year, about 25 percent of India’s fiscal deficit, twice the annual public spending on health or rural development." Hence, addressing the above issues becomes essential not only to secure livelihoods but also to safeguard the environment.
Despite the efforts from the Government, awareness among the end beneficiaries is significantly lower. This results in low penetration of the deployment of sustainable practices on the ground. It is also to be noted here that the demand of energy, water and agriculture (EWA) is not homogenous throughout the Eastern Indian belt. SwitchON’s extensive reach in the communities will therefore leverage the identification of community specific needs for enhancing climate resilient livelihood opportunities.
It is clear that there is a pressing need to tackle these issues in India, and SwitchON has the solution for this.
Being a not-for-profit organization, SwitchON Foundation has reached out to the underserved communities and key stakeholders who are the agents of bringing change for sustainable development through its projects in the following ways:
- Action Research
- Understanding the ground realities through baseline study
- Conduct Pilot projects to capture insights on the community's needs.
- Awareness Campaigns
- makes communities aware of clean energy solutions by conducting awareness campaigns.
- Conduct exposure visits to make the beneficiaries aware of Climate smart activities.
- help them adapt to the sustainable agriculture practices and renewable energy solutions
- implement projects on water management by empowering women.
- Ecosystem Development
- adopt an ecosystem approach which enables us to engage with key stakeholders like farmers, financial institutions and government departments.
- Conduct multistakeholder meeting to minimize the knowledge gap among stakeholders
- Practice to Policy approach
- helping government departments in addressing policy changes through active networks, create green businesses & enterprises
- Skillup for creating sustainable system
- Training and building a green workforce for promotion of sustainable deployment of green energy solutions.
- engage with young students and educate them about environment and related hazards for which they can take early measures in life
We also capacitate all our stakeholders with training and knowledge to help them think of sustainable solutions against the issues faced by them.
For more information on our solution, do refer to our Slide Deck.