Strengthening Climate Information and Early Warning Systems in Cambodia
STORIES FROM A CLIMATE CHANGE HERO: Mr. Tek Samoeun
December 13, 2019
Mr. Tek Samoeun is the Vice Chief of the Office of Agricultural Cooperative Promotion, a division of the Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Kampong Speu. Passionate about his mission, he works to support the growth of a strong community of farmers by equipping them with relevant agricultural techniques and knowledge as they face mounting development challenges due to climate change.
“I was perfectly suited for this job”: Mr. Tek Samoeun smiled as he took the time to reflect on his achievements. After obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Science in Agriculture, he passed a government exam and was assigned the position of Vice Chief of the Office of Agricultural Cooperative Promotion, a division of the Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Kampong Speu.
Mr. Samoeun explained that knowledge and understanding of climate is passed down from one generation of farmers to another but is still limited. “Some farmers have been practicing their traditional methods and habits. Hence, they do not have a strategic preparedness plan to deal with natural disasters.”
Most farmers know that there are two seasons in Cambodia - dry and rainy seasons - but more information is needed to help them plan for the planting and harvesting of their crops. Both seasons bring with them their load of challenges for farmers, which can be reduced with accurate weather forecasting. Access to weather forecasts and climate information enables people to make informed decisions in their daily lives to avoid negative impacts, however people must also be equipped to respond to this information.
“We have found that the understanding of weather forecasting information and knowledge of climate change plays a vital role in agricultural-based activities”, Mr. Samoeun says. As a result, his department has developed a programme which trains farmers in understanding weather forecasts and how to use this climate information to mitigate negative impacts and improve their livelihoods by developing strategic risk reduction plans. The training programme is supported by the United Nations Development Programme as part of a four-year project to strengthen climate Information and early warning systems in Cambodia.
To enable farmers not only to respond appropriately to climate but also thrive, Mr. Samoeun believes that as a technical expert, it is his duty to share his knowledge: “I am always looking forward to presenting innovative ideas and techniques to further strengthen the capacity of farmers.”
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