While experiencing and tackling annual floods, drought, landslides and outbreaks of diseases on vegetables and meat, the world’s countries including our country are facing the COVID-19 pandemic, posing a threat to the lives of human beings.
Myanmar is bearing the brunt of climate change-induced disasters every year. Natural disasters brought on by climate change are hard to predict; and their frequency and severity has been on the increase.
With disasters getting stronger and causing more devastation year by year, disaster management has become crucial for the Union Government, especially in the agricultural sector.
A recent study by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), to assess the pandemic’s impact on family farms in Mandalay and other regions of Myanmar, suggests that the climate has changed significantly over the past few decades. Ninety-five per cent of farmers surveyed said that this has led to lower or non-existent crop yields.
The measures introduced to control the spread of COVID-19, especially those that limit movement, are making matters worse. Many poor people, who were already scraping by on meagre resources before the pandemic, are now facing extra pressure in terms of income sources, livelihoods and purchasing power.
When it comes to taking necessary measures to ensure operation of production and services in which many industries, including agriculture and livestock producers are involved due to the consequences of travel restrictions and delays in the flow of trade in response to the COVID-19 outbreak since March, 2020, we need to provide the smallholder farmers with climate change adaptation assistance. They are on the front lines in the battle for climate change adaptation.
Farmers are fundamental to food security in Myanmar and they are extremely vulnerable to climate. Building the resilience of our farmers is an urgent climate adaptation priority.
It is worth noting that the UN and the Myanmar authorities are finding ways to address the lost income and work opportunities, additional expenses, and decreased agricultural production brought about by the pandemic, as well as dealing with the ongoing effects of climate change.
It reflects that the government cannot lose sight of multiple challenges that farmers face which affects productivity. When it comes to maintaining our support to the farmers, to mitigate the risks of the pandemic in terms of food security and nutrition and to ensure that they are resilient to impacts from climate change, good preparation and management are key to overcoming challenges in the agriculture sector.