Culture and Agriculture
Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
Navneet Gill (Panjab University)
Abhik Ghosh (Panjab University)
Climate change significantly poses a threat to agrarian societies. Even mild climate variation affects the crop adversely resulting in a challenge for farmers in coping with the changing climatic conditions. Punjab, being an agrarian economy, was facing a crisis and was rapidly turning into a farmers' graveyard. Neo-liberal policies by central and state government deepened the agrarian crisis. In view of the prevailing agrarian crisis in Punjab, farmers’ voices were used to understand the local farming systems, farmer's experiences and perceptions regarding farming practices from an anthropological perspective. In this study, the researcher also comprehends the local knowledge of farmers towards climate change and their adaptation strategies to cope with it through an ethnographic account of Sarawan village of Faridkot District, Punjab. In-depth interviews were conducted from 250 respondents which included small, marginal and large farmers, cooperative societies, arhtiyas, bank officials and procurement field officials. Inferences drawn from the data reveals that modernized farming practices had led to the deterioration of local cultural farming knowledge, loss of soil fertility, the decline in the water table, instability in crop yield, among other issues. Narratives from fieldwork highlighted farmers who opposed the policies of the government. With the changing climate, farmers were not able to cope with this situation due to a lack of knowledge regarding new varieties of seeds, the high cost of agricultural machinery and poor agricultural extension services. Farming systems had developed in ways reflecting the activities and choices of farmers influenced by environmental, socio-cultural, economic and political conditions.