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International Day of Cooperatives and Climate Change

Updated: Jun 27, 2023

Posted on 26 June 2023

The International Day of Cooperatives is observed on the first Saturday of July each year to raise awareness about the importance of cooperatives and their contributions to economic and social development worldwide. This day celebrates the cooperative movement's values of self-help, democracy, equality, solidarity, and sustainable development. It recognizes cooperatives as a means to address poverty, create employment opportunities, promote social inclusion, and advance sustainable practices. The International Day of Cooperatives highlights the role of cooperatives in fostering economic resilience, empowering marginalized communities, and achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

In India, there are several types of farmers' cooperative movements that have emerged to address the challenges faced by farmers and promote their collective interests. Here are some common types of farmers' cooperatives in India:

  • Agricultural Marketing Cooperatives:

  • Credit Cooperatives:

  • Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs):

  • Dairy Cooperatives:

  • Water User Associations:

Co-operatives can play a significant role in recognizing and addressing challenges of climate change such as recurring droughts, cloud bursts, flooding, etc which have severe impacts on agriculture and the livelihood of farmers, and act as an advisory for farmers and support them to mitigate the risks of climate change. Water remains a critical input for agriculture and in India’s context, nearly 70-80% of agriculture is dependent on groundwater.

Groundwater is becoming a crucial and depleting resource and Cooperative movements can play a crucial role in stopping the deterioration of groundwater resources through collective actions and responsible water management practices. Here are some ways in which cooperative movements can contribute to this objective:

Education and Awareness: Cooperatives can educate their members about the importance of sustainable groundwater management. By raising awareness about the consequences of over-extraction and the need for conservation, cooperatives can foster a sense of responsibility among farmers toward preserving groundwater resources.

Water Auditing and Monitoring: Cooperatives can implement water auditing and monitoring systems to assess and track groundwater availability and usage among their members. Borewells, as they are concealed structures, pose great limitations in understanding water availability on a regular basis, and therefore, water management in borewells is almost absent limiting it to only switching on and off the pumps. Auditing and monitoring will help in identifying areas of excessive consumption and enables cooperative leaders to guide farmers towards more efficient water use practices.

Promoting Water-Saving Technologies: Cooperatives can facilitate the adoption of water-saving technologies and practices, such as drip irrigation, precision farming, and mulching. By providing training, access to equipment, and financial support, cooperatives can encourage farmers to reduce water wastage and optimize irrigation practices.

Collective Water Conservation Initiatives: Cooperative movements can initiate collective water conservation projects, such as constructing check dams, farm ponds, or recharge structures. These projects help in harvesting rainwater, increasing groundwater recharge, and reducing surface runoff, ultimately replenishing the groundwater reserves.

Sharing Best Practices: Cooperatives can serve as platforms for sharing best practices related to groundwater management. By organizing workshops, field visits, and knowledge-sharing sessions, farmers can learn from each other's experiences and adopt successful strategies for sustainable water use.

Advocacy and Policy Engagement: Cooperatives can advocate for policies and regulations that promote sustainable groundwater management. They can engage with local authorities, government agencies, and other stakeholders to ensure that groundwater conservation measures are incorporated into agricultural policies and programs.

Collaboration with Water Resource Authorities: Cooperatives can collaborate with water resource management authorities to implement sustainable groundwater management initiatives. By working together, they can access technical expertise, financial support, and regulatory guidance to develop effective water management plans.

By leveraging the collective strength and unity of cooperative movements, farmers can contribute to the preservation and sustainable use of groundwater resources. Through education, technological adoption, conservation efforts, and policy advocacy, cooperatives can make a significant impact in stopping the deterioration of groundwater and ensuring its availability for future generations.

By Waterlab Team

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