What can we do to support the indigenous people to adapt climate change?

Shortage of water is the main problem in agricultural production especially among the indigenous communities. The indigenous people in Taveaeng Leu commune mainly rely on rain water for their farming. So agricultural activity can be conducted only in the rainy season. Chamkar which is located in the upland area where the IP plant different kinds of crops such as rice, veggies, cashew, etc, but Chamkar is very susceptible to the climate change impact especially drought. There are many small natural streams near Chamkar, but water supply system is very limited. No water from the stream is used for farming in Chamkar. There were some traditional open wells with a depth of 2-3 meters in Chamkar, but they are easily dry in the drier months.

 

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Focus Group Discussion during the climate vulnerability and impact assessment 

 

The GEF-funded project, Life-and-Nature in cooperation with government counterparts from the Provincial Department of Agriculture, Provincial Department of Women’s Affairs, and Provincial Department of Environment conducted a climate change vulnerability and impact assessment in its four target watersheds, which located in Kampong Thom, Preah Vihear, Siem Reap and Ratanakiri provinces.

The adaptive capacity of the indigenous people is very low because they rely on farming, but not properly access to irrigation. The prolonged drought and erratic rainfall put the indigenous people at high risk of crop production failure. At the same time, the natural resources that the indigenous people used to rely on has been degraded. Privatization of the natural forest to Economic Land Concession (ELC) companies did not benefit the poor, but make the poor become poorer.

Some indigenous people sell their labor for private company, even they have never done it before, in order to make additional income to to buy food for the family consumption. The indigenous people who attended the climate change vulnerability and impact assessment suggested the following recommendations:

1. Improve agricultural production technique especially rice and cashew nut production.
– tolerant seed (rice and veggies)
– improved cashew nut varieties (high yielding varieties and tolerant to climate change)
2. Rehabilitate and construct small scale irrigation structures that enable the indigenous people to better access water for their crops.
3. Improved chicken raising techniques especially disease prevention and treatment (including improve technical capacity of the Village Animal Health Worker)
4. Improve alternative livelihood options ( food processing, handicraft and market linkage)
5. To ensure a sustainability and replicability, engage different local stakeholders in the project implementation and integrate successful climate change adaptation practices into local plans.

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