Diversifying crops to cope with climate change
For Ki Her, the head of Kioutaloun village in mountainous northern Lao PDR, and 95 percent of the population who grow rice, the change in the weather over the past five years presents significant challenges.
With shorter but more intense rainy seasons, followed by longer dry seasons, farmers are struggling to figure out when is the best time to plant. Moreover, increasing numbers of landslides, land erosion and severe flooding are further affecting the crop that is grown on the slopes of the northern uplands.
- The Kioutaloun community, along with three other villages, received US$50,000 in 2011 from the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme, implemented by UNDP.
- The initiative has benefited more than 2,000 people.
- As well as working directly with communities, UNDP is also supporting the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in a four-year programme to improve the resilience of the agriculture sector to climate change.
To cope with the challenge the community is seeking alternative crops that can be more profitable and reliable than rice.
To help achieve this, the Kioutaloun community, along with three other villages, received US$50,000 in 2011 from the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme, implemented by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), to plant non-rice crops to cope with the changing weather patterns. The initiative has benefited more than 2,000 people.
The project builds on the villager’s local knowledge about the most productive crops to plant and farmers receive support in purchasing seedlings and training on land preparation and planting techniques.
Manfred Staab, a UNDP technical advisor to the National Agricultural Forestry Research Institute says crop diversification is crucial to improve farmer’s resilience.
“If you have more options than one, then, if something happens to you, you are not as easily derailed from your main source of income, or your food security is not as easily in danger,” Staab said.
Another farmer, Tai On, and his family are referred to as the model farmers in Kioutaloun. They conduct workshops with their own community to share their farming knowledge on planting alternative crops. After a trip to Thailand three years ago, where Tai On saw farmers earning money from lemons, he started investing in lemon orchards, which now cover on more than half his land.
“The lemon trees now have fruit all year round. I use the lemons for cooking and to sell at the market,” he said.
He can get US$0.25 US per kilogramme for his lemons during the rainy season and three times as much in the dry season, when lemon production in the lowlands drops. He is also planting sweet bamboo, which he discovered grows easily, prevents soil erosion and, like lemons, can be sold at the market all year round.
According to Ki Her, the average additional income a household can earn from alternative crops, including lemons, cucumbers and sweet bamboo, is about US$375. This is a significant amount in a country where the GDP per capita is about US$1,200.
As well as working directly with communities, UNDP is also supporting the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in a four-year programme to improve the resilience of the agriculture sector to climate change (IRAS).
The four-year IRAS project aims to produce 10 to 15 successful intervention models that farmers can draw on to make them more resilient in the face of changing environmental conditions.
- The UNDP Lao PDR’s Environment Unit last week took part in the first stakeholder consultation for the design of a Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) for rural electrification in Lao PDR with representatives from the Institute of Renewable Energy Promotion (IREP) in the Ministry of Energy and Mines, Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and Ministry of Planning and Investment. The NAMA stakeholder consultation focused on the key elements for the NAMA design document including institutional arrangements, appropriate technologies and sustainability. The NAMA under consideration is for rural electrification as a means of helping Lao PDR to implement renewable and sustainable energy schemes. ໃນອາທິດທີ່ຜ່ານມາພະແນກສິ່ງແວດລ້ອມຂອງອົງການສະຫະປະຊາຊາດເພື່ອການພັດທະນາໄດ້ເຂົ້າຮ່ວມກອງປະຊຸມປືກສາຫາລືຄັ້ງທຳອິດຂອງໂຄງການສ້າງແຜນງານຫລຸດຜ່ອນອາຍພິດເຮືອນແກ້ວທີ່ເໝາະສົມ (NAMA) ຈາກການນຳໃຊ້ພະລັງງານທົດແທນ ສຳລັບ ສປປ ລາວ ຮ່ວມກັບຜູ້ຕາງໜ້າຂອງສະຖາບັນສົ່ງເສີມພະລັງງານທົດແທນກະຊວງພະລັງງານແລະບໍ່ແຮ່, ກະຊວງໂຍທາທິການແລະຂົນສົ່ງ, ກະຊວງຊັບພະຍາກອນທຳມະຊາດແລະສິ່ງແວດລ້ອມແລະກະຊວງແຜນການແລະການລົງທຶນ. ການຫາລືແມ່ນໄດ້ເນັ້ນໃສ່ບັນຫາຫລັກໆຂອງເອກະສານແຜນງານ NAMA ຮວມທັງຮູບແບບການຈັດຕັ້ງ, ເຕັກໂນໂລຊີທີ່ເໝາະສົມ ແລະ ກ່ຽວກັບຄວາມຍືນຍົງ. ໂຄງການສ້າງແຜນງານຫລຸດຜອ່ນອາຍພິດເຮືອນແກ້ວທີ່ເໝາະສົມທີ່ພວມຫາລືກັນຢູ່ເວລານີ້ແມ່ນກ່ຽວກັບໄຟຟ້າຊົນນະບົດເພື່ອເປັນເຄື່ອງມືຊ່ວຍ ສປປ ລາວ ໃນການຈັດຕັ້ງປະຕິບັດບັນດາໂຄງການພະລັງງານທົດແທນແລະຄວາມຍືນຍົງດ້ານພະລັງງານ. Monday AT 03:07 AM
- Representatives from IREP in the Ministry of Energy and Mines, Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and UNDP Lao PDR took part. Photo: UNDP Lao PDR Monday AT 03:06 AM
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