Rainfall variability, food security and human mobility in the Janjgir-Champa district of Chhattisgarh state, India
The impacts of rainfall variability are threatening food production systems, leading to losses of livelihood and food insecurity. The frequency and intensity of floods and drought are likely to be higher as a result of climate change. This case study presents an empirical account of the impacts of rainfall variability on agriculture, food security, livelihoods and human mobility in the Janjigir-Champa district of Chhattisgarh. The research tests the hypothesis that human migration is a major coping mechanism against climate variability. The findings confirm that a coordination mechanism exists between rainfall changes (i.e. erratic rainfall patterns in terms of delayed monsoons, seasonal shifts, drought and floods) and livelihood and food security of a number of farmers and farm labourers in the research site. Because there is only a single annual harvest of paddy rice (practiced as monoculture) in the research site, which is partly due to the non-availability of water for a second crop, marginal farmers and farm labourers are left with very few options in finding sufficient employment in and around their villages. Some people cope with the situation by seeking assistance from their relatives, friends and the government. However, seasonal and permanent migrations are the most opted-for coping strategies in the study area.