June 16, 2017

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Combating Land Degradation And Drought

Agriculture in central Myanmar, which is considered a dry zone ,is challenging because of frequent drought. Photo: Aye Min Soe

The solution for the lack of agriculture in Myanmar’s dry zones could come from Israel, where half of the country’s is considered a desert.
Approximately one quarter of the population of Myanmar live in the area that is considered Dry Zone (in Mandalay, Sagaing and Magway regions). Insufficient rains and lack of water management make it difficult for the communities living there to produce enough agriculture products, hence leading to food insecurity and poverty. The area affected by these conditions is gradually growing. Desert is taking over.
Desertification means land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas as a result of human activity, climate change and various additional factors. As a result of land degradation yields decrease and in their wake the economic situation of farmers, particularly in the poorer areas of the developing countries, weakens and frequently leads to hunger, strife and massive emigration.
In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 17 the “World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought” in order to promote public awareness and this date has been observed since 1995.  The World Day to Combat Desertification is a unique occasion to remind everybody that desertification can be effectively tackled, that solutions are possible, and that key tools to this aim lay in strengthened community participation and co-operation at all levels.
In order to combat desertification a country should apply a holistic approach, integrating several elements like water recycling, reclamation and reuse, water management and efficient irrigation, agriculture adjusted to arid environments, treating soil erosion, reduce salinization, improve mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and afforestation, to mention few.
In Israel, more than half of its area is desert, and it has to confront the challenge of desertification for many years. It is done by careful planning, research and development of technologies and methods to reduce the influence of the phenomena, and even increase the cultivated area in regions with almost no rain through the year around.
The knowhow that was accumulated along the years is shared through MASHAV (Israel Agency for International Development Cooperation), INGOs and private companies. An example for such transfer of knowledge could be found in Ethiopia where Israeli nonprofit organization “Fair Planet” helps Ethiopian famers to fight hunger by providing high-quality seeds , partly developed in Israel, that can better withstand harsh climate conditions, and are more resistant to pests and increase crop yields fivefold .
The state of Israel is working closely with the UNCCD in order to match its major efforts in the area to the goals, plans and the framework of the UN’s Convention for Combating Desertification. Israel is willing to share its knowhow and technology with Myanmar, in order to combat desertification and improve the life of the people in draught-related areas. — GNLM
Ref: http://nocamels.com/2017/05/israelis-fight-hunger-ethiopia-farmers/, http://themimu.info/

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