After the orientation on climate change vulnerability impact assessment tools with government counterparts from provincial department of environment, agriculture and women’s affairs in environmental department of Kampong Thom, the Life and Nature project team together with those government counterparts carried out VIA in Lvea Krang micro watershed and Po Pok micro watershed from 14 to 21 September 2015.
I myself was part of the team to conduct the VIA study in these target areas. Based on the study, I could know that agriculture is main food and income source for the farmers’ families in the studied commune. Cassava is just planted as a cash crop to make income for the family. However, sustainable of cassava production is in doubted while soil fertility has degraded from year to year. In Lvea Kraing, the cassava yield has decreased from 40t/ha to only about 20t/ha, while the farmers in Kampong Thom could harvest cassava only about 20t/ha.
Currently, the farmers in PoPok commune, Stoung district of Kampong Thom province planted different crops in their agricultural land (Chamkar), including the planting of cashew nut. The farmers said that they can get better incomes for their families while they plant cassava for selling. However, the yield is decreasing and the cassava price is fixed by cassava collectors or traders while the farmers have no negotiation power or influence on the selling price.
There are some key challenges in agricultural production, including the shortage of water, pest infestation, and lack of climate-resilient agricultural practices to cope with these climate issues. Women and children are the most vulnerable people in the study commune while they have limited resources, knowledge and technical capacity to deal with those climate issues.
The farmers raised that addressing water shortage issue, and capacity building on integrated pest management and climate smart agriculture practices will significantly help them to improve their agricultural production and livelihood.