Climate-smart road map for global rice powerhouse

11 December, 2013 by (comments)
climate_smart_road
A climate-smart road map for Southeast Asia is now taking shape as researchers meet for a planning workshop in Thailand. Photo: UN Photo/M.Perret (view original)
This post appears originally on the CCAFS website.

A climate-smart road map for Southeast Asia is taking shape as researchers gather in Bangkok Thailand to hammer out an action plan and decide on target sites to explore climate solutions in the region.

The plan, to be shaped by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), is part of its global initiative to address climate change impacts through climate smart agriculture and policy advice on resilient food systems.

“This is a global program – and without Southeast Asia we can hardly be called a global program,” said Bruce Campbell, leading the convergence meeting in Bangkok to identify a road map with local partners.

DEFORESTATION DUE TO AGRICULTURE EXPANSION IS CONSIDERABLE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA. ACTIONS CURBING THIS TREND WHILE ENSURING FOOD SECURITY IS NEEDED, SAYS CCAFS DIRECTOR BRUCE CAMPBELL.PHOTO: MAT MCDERMOTT

“There are significant food security challenges to be addressed in this region. It is the global powerhouse for rice production and rice-based systems, yet of direct GHG emissions from agriculture, about one tenth come from rice production,” he said.

“This is also a region where there is considerable deforestation from the expansion of agriculture. All these issues need to be addressed,” he added.

Climate smart villages 

Responsible for churning out the majority of the world’s rice supply, researchers are concerned that climate change impacts such as rising sea levels threaten to engulf the region’s agricultural land and taint freshwater supplies for agricultural production.

Combined with rising salinity, which damages soil fertility and stunts the growth of rice and other crops, they warn that the region’s mega-deltas – the Red River and Mekong Deltas, the Chao Phraya – and the millions who live on them, are at risk.

Despite wide use of irrigation, roughly 75 per cent of crops in the region are rain-fed and remain especially vulnerable to climate variability. Indeed, prolonged dry spells or more intense rainfall has increased pressure on water supplies.

The newest kid on the block, Southeast Asia joins East; West Africa and South Asia among target regions earmarked by CCAFS for climate research focusing on villages where site-specific solutions to climate problems will be investigated.

Researchers gathered in Bangkok aim to identify climate-smart villages in the region. “The villages are learning laboratories where multiple partners – researchers, government agencies, private sector, farmer groups, civil society organisations – come together to trial integrated solutions to climate change,” said Campbell.

See the full article. 

Learn more about our newcomer: Asia’s rice bowls get a new ally in climate fight

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