Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CARDI raises climate change concerns in report

CARDI raises climate change concerns in report

A farmer plants rice in a usually flooded paddy in Kampong Speu during drought-like conditions late last year.
A farmer plants rice in a usually flooded paddy in Kampong Speu during drought-like conditions late last year. Victoria Mørck Madsen

CARDI raises climate change concerns in report

A report from the Cambodia Agriculture Research and Development Institute (CARDI), a semi-autonomous organisation, showed that 83 per cent of farmers surveyed in Kampong Speu, Kampot and Kampong Cham provinces had noticed the effects of climate change.

The report, which surveyed 150 rice farmers and is used by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries (MAFF) to formulate a 2016 to 2018 strategic plan, noted that rice farmers had experienced prolonged dry seasons, a shortened wet season and decreased annual precipitation.

Farmers in the three provinces emphasised that climate change reduced crop production, deteriorated soil fertility, and had significantly dropped crop yields.

Ouk Makara, director of CARDI, explained that the organisation is looking to introduce rice seeds that are more resistant to the effects of climate change.

“We are working on rice seeds that resist flood, drought and resistance to heat,” he said.

“At the same time, we are also studying issues related to irrigation and plantation systems that work for when there is less access to water,” he said. However, he added that the government’s financial resources were limited to address the effects of climate change.

Mey Kalyan, senior adviser to the Supreme National Economic Council, said that climate change has already had tangible effects on the Kingdom’s agricultural sector as last year’s production remained flat.

“Generally, we cannot avoid the suffering caused by climate change. What is happening now is inevitable and farmers are the most affected,” he said, adding that as the country continues to solely rely on rain-fed production, the sector will diminish.

He said that the government had recognised the challenges climate change presented, and that it had established a technical committee to address the issues of seeds and irrigation.

Sam Vitou, executive director for Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC), explained that for small-scale farmers, the key to adapting to the changing environment would come in the form of crop diversification.

“Farmers need to have multi-purpose farms that can raise fish and vegetables. If you are only growing rice, there is no way to adapt even if you plant different seeds,” he said. He added that if farmers diversify they also don’t have to rely on a single harvest season.

While the report from CARDI did not weigh the economic costs of climate change, Vitou said that by calculating the data from the ministry of agriculture, the Kingdom sustained a loss of $17 million in rice production in 2015 – a year of prolonged drought exacerbated by the El Niño meteorological phenomenon.

MOST VIEWED

  • South Korea’s first lady brings hope to ill boy

    South Korea’s first lady Kim Keon-hee – wife of current president of the Republic of Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol – met with a 14-year-boy with congenital heart disease during her trip to the Kingdom for the ASEAN Summit. After their meeting it was announced that the

  • Hun Sen gets Covid, shuns G20, APEC summits

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said he has tested positive for Covid-19 in Indonesia, where he is slated to attend the G20 summit in his capacity of the ASEAN chair. In a social media post addressing the Cambodian public, he said: “Before leaving Cambodia, I always

  • Moody’s sets outlook rating to ‘negative’ for Cambodia

    US global rating agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc on November 15 announced that it downgraded Cambodia’s outlook from “stable” to “negative” and maintained its B2 local and foreign currency issuer ratings. “The negative outlook reflects a deteriorating external position as illustrated by the severe

  • Korean first lady paves way for ill boy’s surgery

    A 14-year-old boy with congenital heart disease who was lucky enough to meet with South Korean first lady Kim Keon-hee may get the chance of a lifetime and receive surgery and treatment at Asan Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea. After seeing his plight, many

  • Hun Sen’s Covid infection caused by ‘weakened antibody’ after summit

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said exhaustion from heavy workload before and during the recent ASEAN Summit may have led to him contracting Covid-19 due to his weakened immune system, while rejecting speculations that the infection was caused by leaders of some countries who did not

  • Kingdom’s rice crowned world’s No1

    Cambodia’s Phka Rumduol jasmine variety has been crowned the World’s Best Rice for the fifth time at the TRT (The Rice Trader) World Rice Conference in Phuket, Thailand on November 17, according to leaders of the Kingdom’s apex rice industry body. Phka Rumduol