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National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA)

National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) is a network project of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) launched in February, 2011. The project aims to enhance resilience of Indian agriculture to climate change and climate vulnerability through strategic research and technology demonstration. The research on adaptation and mitigation covers crops, livestock, fisheries and natural resource management. The project consists of four components viz. Strategic Research, Technology Demonstration, Capacity Building and Sponsored/Competitive Grants.
The project was formally launched by the Hon’ble Union Minister for Agriculture & Food Processing Industries Shri Sharad Pawarji on 2nd February 2011.


Climate change has become an important area of concern for India to ensure food and nutritional security for growing population.The Government of India has accorded high priority on research and development to cope with climate change in agriculture sector. The Prime Minister’s National Action Plan on climate change has identified Agriculture as one of the eight national missions.


To enhance the resilience of Indian agriculture covering crops, livestock and fisheries to climatic variability and climate change through development and application of improved production and risk management technologies.
To demonstrate site specific technology packages on farmers’ fields for adapting to current climate risks
To enhance the capacity building of scientists and other stakeholders in climate resilient agricultural research and its application.

Project Components

Both short term and long terms outputs are expected from the project in terms of new and improved varieties of crops, livestock breeds, management practices that help in adaptation and mitigation and inputs for policy making to mainstream climate resilient agriculture in the developmental planning.The project is comprised of four components.

  • Strategic research on adaptation and mitigation
  • Technology demonstration on farmers’ fields to cope with current climate variability
  • Sponsored and competitive research grants to fill critical research gaps
  • Capacity building of different stake holders

Strategic Research

The strategic research has been planned at leading research institutes of ICAR in a network mode covering crops, horticulture, livestock, natural resource management and fisheries sectors. To begin with, the project is focusing on crops like wheat, rice, maize, pigeonpea, groundnut, tomato, mango and banana; cattle, buffalo and small ruminants among livestock and both marine and freshwater fish species of economic importance. The major research themes are:

  1. Vulnerability assessment of major production zones
  2. Linking weather based agro-advisories to contingency planning
  3. Assessing the impacts and evolving varieties tolerant to key climatic stresses (drought, heat, frost, flooding, etc.) in major food and horticulture crops
  4. Continuous monitoring of greenhouse gases in open field conditions in major production systems
  5. Evolving adaptation and mitigation strategies through enhancing water and nutrient use efficiency and conservation agriculture
  6. Studying changes in pest dynamics, pest/pathogen-crop relationships and emergence of new pests and pathogens under changing climate
  7. Adaptation strategies in livestock through nutritional and environmental manipulations
  8. Harnessing the beneficial effects of temperature in inland and marine fisheries through better understanding of the spawning behaviour.

Technology Demonstration

The technology demonstration component deals with demonstrating proven technologies for adaptation of crop and livestock production systems to climate variability.This component is implemented in selected vulnerable districts of the country through location specific interventions by Krishi Vigyan Kendras in a participatory mode. The project is implemented in 100 districts (see map) involving over one lakh farm families across the country. These districts are selected based on the following criteria besides the strength of the KVKs:

  • Drought proneness based on 30 years rainfall data
  • Cyclone proneness based on frequency as recorded by IMD/State Disaster Management agencies.
  • Flood proneness based on IMD data and NDMA maps.
  • Vulnerability to heat wave and cold wave based on IMD grid data on temperatures.
  • Actual incidence of floods and droughts as recorded by AICRPAM centers

Module I: Natural resources

This module consists of interventions related to in-situ moisture conservation, water harvesting, supplemental irrigation, improved drainage in flood prone areas, conservation tillage where appropriate, artificial ground water recharge and water saving irrigation methods.

Module II: Crop Production

This module consists of introducing drought / temperature / flood tolerant varieties, advancement of planting dates of rabi crops in areas with terminal heat stress, water saving paddy cultivation methods (SRI, aerobic, direct seeding), frost management in horticulture through trash burning, community nurseries for delayed monsoon, custom hiring centres for timely planting, location specific intercropping systems with high sustainable yield index.

Module III: Livestock and Fisheries

Use of community lands for fodder production during droughts/floods, improved fodder / feed storage methods, preventive vaccination, improved shelters for reducing heat stress in livestock , management of fish ponds / tanks during water scarcity and excess water, etc.

Module IV: Institutional Interventions

This module consist of institutional interventions either by strengthening the existing ones or initiating new ones relating to seed bank, fodder bank, commodity groups, custom hiring centre, collective marketing, introduction of weather index based insurance and climate literacy through a village level weather station.
The unique features of this project are setting up of custom hiring centers and formation of Village Climate Risk Management Committees. For each intervention, it is planned to work out the carbon, water and energy foot prints.