Preparing for a better future: Delphi forecasts on competency development to enhance climate-resilient farming in Northeastern India
Many inhabitants of the Northeastern region of India (NER) are poor and have to rely on subsistence farming for a livelihood and are therefore vulnerable to negative impacts of climate change. To enhance the resilience of the farmers and the entire agricultural sector of NER, stakeholders need to acquire additional and/or specialized competencies to deal with the negative impacts of climate change. In this study, we systematically identify and prioritize crucial competencies for change agents,
... for change agents, farmers and institutions in NER. We used a modified Delphi methodology with several iterations to lead experts towards a consensus about the most pressing competencies for each stakeholder group. The items were prioritized using a composite scoring approach. The findings reveal that for change agents in NER, an open-minded attitude and expertise in linking farmers to markets are highly rated competencies. For the farmers, eco-friendly farming skills and a problem-solving attitude emerged as key competencies. Biodiversity conservation and integrated farming skills are also highly desirable. Concerning the institutions, the Krishi Vigyan Kendras (farm science centers) have to play a priority role in implementing policies promoting sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture, as they are the institutional link to farming communities. The experts are confident that the overall sustainability of the agricultural sector in NER can be considerably enhanced by developing these key competencies.