Norway has pledged an estimated Rs. 7 crore for a project studying the impact of climate change on agriculture and rice production in the Cauvery delta in Thanjavur and Krishna delta of Andhra Pradesh, according to the Norwegian Minister for Agriculture and Food Lars Peder Brekk.

Addressing a farmers’ day meeting at the Saraswathi Krishi Vigyan Kendra at Puzhutheri village in Karur district on Wednesday, Mr. Brekk outlined that the preliminary works under the expanded ClimaRice II project commenced in November last and the programme as such would go on for three years.

ClimaRice, an initiative supported by Government of Norway, assesses the rice ecosystem sensitivity to climate change by using high-resolution regional model simulations and simultaneously understand the hydrological changes in the Cauvery river basin.

In ClimaRice I different technologies including alternative cropping systems, alternate wetting and drying, system of rice intensification and direct sowing were being validated in fields in real time conditions.

The emphasis on ClimRice II would be on validating and replicating pioneering practices on the fields of model farmers towards formulating integrated response to complex climate change issues impacting agriculture in general and rice production, in particular.

ClimaRice II is a sequel to the successful ClimaRice I implemented between 2008 and 2010 in the Cauvery delta of Tamil Nadu.

“The related challenge of food insecurity and climate change means that we must produce more food in a sustainable and climate-friendly way,’’ Mr. Brekk underlined.

The Norwegian Minister stressed on cooperation between his country and India in sharing experience of workable solutions by promoting dialogue between farmers, researchers and other stakeholders to have environmentally sustainable technology that could produce flexible measures for climate adaption to meet the needs of farmers under different local conditions.

ClimaRice project was a good example of how that could be done, he pointed out.

Speaking on the occasion the Minister for Agriculture Veerapandi S. Arumugam said that the State Government was responsive to the issues impacting climate change and the plan to establish 385 automatic weather stations, one in every union of the State, was one among them. Already 224 stations had been set up while the rest would be established in the current year.

“We’ll be seeking more funds for agriculture related projects and activities in the coming budget taking into account the challenges and requirements ahead of us,’’ Mr. Arumugam observed.

First Secretary at the Norwegian Embassy in New Delhi, Ole Reidar Bergum, pointed out that environmental issues have been high on the Indo-Norwegian bilateral agenda and the countries had a good and dynamic cooperation in the areas of renewable energy, climate change and biodiversity. There was vibrant bilateral research collaboration between Indian and Norwegian scientists and research institutions, he said adding ClimaRice was among the prominent initiatives in the project portfolio.

Minister for Transport K.N. Nehru, District Collectors (J. Uma Maheswari (Karur) and T. Soundaiah (Tiruchi), Whoeltime Member of the State Planning Commission G. Kumaravelu and chairman of the Saraswathi Krishi Vigyan Kendra K.N. Ramajayam were among those who spoke.