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 Government of Norway renewed its support to assist the UXO Sector in Lao PDR with a contribution of 6,000,000 NOK (equivalent to US$886,132) in support of UXO Lao’s operational capacity to clear Confirmed Hazardous Areas. The agreement was signed by Mr. Morten Hoglund, State Secretary of Norway, Ms. Kaarina Immonen, UNDP Resident Representative to Lao PDR, and Mr Bounheuang Douangphachanh, Minister to the Government of Lao PDR, President of National Leading Committee for Rural Development and Poverty Eradication, and Chairman of the National Regulatory Authority for the UXO Sector in the Lao PDR in a small ceremony at the UXO Lao office in Vientiane on Thursday 22 January, 2014. This support is timely as UXO Lao has just introduced a new concept of operations which focuses on evidence-based survey and clearance of well-defined Confirmed Hazardous Areas. This will support more effective clearance efforts by Lao PDR. Learn more about UNDP Lao PDR’s UXO Programme at www.la.undp.org #undolaopdr #conventiononclustermunitions #uxolaos #NPALaos 25 January AT 10:57 PM
- UNDP Administrator Helen Clark's speech to the Women’s International Forum highlights 2015 as, "An Important Year for Gender and Development." Read the full speech by clicking on the link below. #undplaopdr #helenclark 20 January AT 10:31 PM
- "See more posts on"Facebook