The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has teamed up with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to help the farming sector tackle the adverse impact of climate change.

The two organisations, in association with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will tap climate capital to fund agricultural, natural resources and rural development (ANR) initiatives.

The collaboration is aimed at enhancing food security and climate financing in India’s ANR sector. NABARD will also receive support to formulate a climate financing policy and its adoption. 

“We will set up a technical support unit (TSU) within NABARD in association with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to address the challenges posed by climate change, particularly in the agriculture and rural livelihood sectors in the country,” Shaji KV, Chairman of NABARD, told businessline.

Addressing climate challenges should be a key priority, he said, adding that close to 55 per cent of the assets in the country’s banking sector was prone to climate risks.

“With the ADB’s expertise and reach, we would like to mobilise financial resources globally to help the ANR sector identify and abate climate risks,” he said.

Scope of collaboration

The partnership will identify and support food security and climate financing programmes in the ANR sector. The support can also be extended to NABARD’s ongoing and future projects, the ADB and other public and private funds can add value.

The projects eligible for support include climate-resilient agriculture and agroforestry projects, irrigation modernisation projects, agriculture value chain financing through financial intermediaries, crop diversification projects, micro-irrigation projects, and JIVA (agro-ecology programme for revitalising natural resources management).

Launched by NABARD, JIVA is a community-based participatory programme for watershed (rainfed) and wadi (tribal) areas, extending over 2.5 million hectares, with a funding commitment of about Rs 5,000 crore. 

ADB would also support capacity building in climate resilience and climate change financing through workshops and training sessions for NABARD, Bankers Institute of Rural Development, and other subsidiaries and stakeholders.

The partnership will also seek to create and pilot-test climate change adaptation financing programmes that can be scaled up.

“We will be piloting such programmes through our local branches across the country,” the NABARD Chairman said.

“The aim is to boost climate change adaptation financing in the ANR sector by leveraging financing and collaborations of a wide range of public and private financiers. It will also enable farmers to benefit from carbon sequestration credits and other ecosystem services with due considerations to environment due diligence and safeguards, social, poverty, and gender aspects,” the agreement said.

Intellecap Advisory Services Private Limited will manage the TCU set up under the agreement. The firm has experience in managing large-scale programmes in agriculture and other allied sectors, with a focus on climate adaptation and mitigation.