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Jakarta Post

Sustainable agriculture needed to tackle climate impacts in ASEAN

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, May 26, 2015   /  12:38 pm

Oxfam'€™s Grow campaign policy coordinator, Riza Bernabe, has said ASEAN can help small-scale farmers and fisherfolk in Southeast Asian countries to become resilient to climate change by reproducing sustainable agriculture practices on a wider scale across the region.

'€œASEAN governments must also pour in more money in helping small-scale farmers and fisherfolk adapt to climate change, and incentivize farmers to practice sustainable and agro-ecological farming,'€ said Bernabe on the launch of Oxfam'€™s new report entitled '€œHarmless Harvest'€ on Tuesday.

The report found that in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam, rainfall has been below average since 2009, resulting in droughts, which are associated with lower yields and increased pest and disease infestation.

In 2013, super typhoon Haiyan decimated swathes of coconut farms in central Philippines, on which thousands of families depend for their livelihood.

Rising sea levels have also posed threats to coastal regions. In Indonesia, almost 15 percent of total rice output is affected by salinity, while in Vietnam, soil salination has affected 100,000 hectares in four provinces, the report says, citing findings of S.K. Redfern et al presented at the FAO / OECD workshop in Rome, Italy, in 2012.

Saltwater intrusion is also threatening rice production in Myanmar, according to an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

'€œOne such sustainable practice is SRI or Systems of Rice Intensification, a way of growing rice that optimizes harvests and incomes without degrading the environment,'€ said Harmless Harvest.

A study by the International Rice Research Institute found that a 1 percent rise in minimum temperature during growing season can result in 10 percent drop in rice yield. (ebf)(++++)

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