Adapting farming methods to climate change

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  • Today, we are experiencing climate change and its impact, and it is vital that we improve our society’s ability to withstand and respond to natural disasters.
    At the moment, the negative impact of climate change surpasses efforts to combat natural disasters. The government has been conducting works to mitigate natural disasters along with activities to fight climate change.
    Myanmar has long been struggling with the direct consequences of climate change. Over the last two decades or so, the country has experienced the worst effects of extreme weather events worldwide.
    Due to climate change, there have been changes in Myanmar’s monsoon seasons, and our farmers need to adapt to the changing weather pattern.
    Changing weather patterns have created obstacles for farmers growing long-duration varieties of rice.
    Why? About 51 per cent of storms which enter Myanmar occur in the pre-monsoon period, and 49 per cent are seen in the post-monsoon period of October, November, and December. Storms in the post-monsoon period can damage farms.
    The situation has alerted us to the need for finding an agricultural system which is suitable to the current climate situation.
    The Asia-Pacific Region is the region most prone to water-related disasters in the world. The rising frequency of water-related disasters in our region has forced us to respond with unity and resilience, but there is a wide variety in the degree and quality of response of individual nations. Obviously, all governments in the region need to do more to cope with the growing threat of disasters caused by climate change, but according to an ADB report only a small number of countries have been investing wisely in disaster risk reduction projects and programmes. Collaboration between the countries in the region will enable all to combat water-related disasters more effectively.
    For Myanmar, it is very important to conduct research on a new system of agriculture, which is based on climate change.
    While global warming is causing an overall increase in extreme rainfall patterns around the world, central Myanmar is experiencing longer periods of drought. This will make it even more challenging for the country’s largely rural population to grow crops and earn a living.
    Meanwhile, farmers in the country’s low-lying areas are vulnerable to flooding in the monsoon season.
    We have a chance to become an excellent model for climate change resilience, but we need to be cautious and make sure that new investments being made in the country are low carbon and climate resilient.
    It we do little to tackle climate change, we will face an even more troubling future.
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