Farmers are being encouraged to embrace new techniques in the face of the damaging effects of climate change.
They should realize they can minimize its effects with proper guidance about Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA), said Mak Soeun, deputy director-general of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ general directorate of agriculture.
The United Nations says CSA aims to “guide actions needed to transform agricultural systems to effectively support development and ensure food security in a changing climate.”
Its goals are to reduce agriculture’s contribution to climate change; increase productivity and income; and strengthen the resilience of farming products to climate change.
Mr. Soeun said the issue has great relevance in Cambodia. “We are facing the effects of climate change – prolonged drought in summer and flash floods in the rainy season – but farmers will still be able run their farms and raise their animals if they implement climate smart agriculture,” he said.
How to implement CSA is now being tested by farmers throughout the country and Mr. Soeun said Ministry officials are collecting specific data in each area related to crops and animals.
He believes progress is already being made.
“The total agricultural cultivation of rice nationwide is about three million hectares but only one percent is affected by climate change because we are now implementing resilient crops and farming techniques.”
Cambodia lost 10 percent of its gross domestic product last year to the negative effect of climate change, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
In announcing a $96 million package to help the kingdom cope with the loss of livelihoods and income due to extreme climatic events, Ancha Srinivasan of ADB’s Southeast Asia Department said last year $1.5 billion was shaved off its total GDP of $16 billion.
Farmers who attended a national workshop on CSA on Friday told Khmer Times it is helping them improve their working techniques, although it is a slow learning process.