A programme that integrates the roles of researchers, farmers and policy-makers to develop a framework for water and agriculture sectors in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh was launched in Chennai on Thursday.

The programme titled as ‘ClimaAdapt – Conservation of biodiversity for enhancement of livelihood security in coastal and marine areas’ focuses on improving the livelihood of those in the coastal areas by sustainable fishing practices.

Coastal waters are rich in biodiversity and resources and play a key role in maintaining earth system functions such as regulation of weather, climate and hydrological cycle and providing food and energy materials to humans. So there is a need to protect the coastal eco-system and the programme will address the issue through cooperation from the State Governments, fishermen, non-governmental organisations and women self-help groups besides policy makers, said the organisers.

The project is funded by the Norwegian Government and will be implemented for a period of four years at a cost of Rs 25 crore. The project will be implemented in Erode and Tiruchi districts in Tamil Nadu and Nalgonda and Godavri districts in Andhra Pradesh.

Trygve Slagsvold Vedum, Minister of Agriculture and Food, Norway, in his address said in Norway the state played an important role in defining and shaping the agricultural policies. The State’s role should be to provide the necessary security of income for the farmers who produce the food and stability of prices for the people who buy the food. It was important to recognise the role of farmers in feeding the nation and their contribution to global food security, he said.

Explaining the programme, Udaya Sekhar Nagothu, Professor and International Coordinator, BIOFORSK, Norway, said the climate change impact is no more a concern for a particular country. Hence, cooperation between countries was inevitable.

Sandeep Saxena, Agriculture Production Commissioner and Secretary, Agriculture Department, Tamil Nadu said the government is keen to usher in the second green revolution. During the last financial year, 106 lakh tonnes of food grain was produced in the State, which was an all time high. The State introduced rice intensification programme in 45 per cent of the cultivated area, which was nearly 45 lakh ha, he said.

Urban development, Port and Shipping activities, mineral resources, industrial activities and climate change were the main threats that posed a major challenge to the coastal areas of the country, said Srinivasan Iyer, Assistant Country Director and Head, Environment and Energy Unit, United Nations Development Programme, India.