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February 17, 2020

Adapt to climate change to better deal with future troubles

The effects of climate change are already visible across the world and in Myanmar. Climate change is expected to exacerbate current challenges, and result in more frequent and more severe extreme weather events.
At present, the negative impact of climate change is surpassing efforts to combat natural disasters. The government has been taking measures to mitigate natural disasters along with activities to fight climate change.
Myanmar has long struggled with the direct consequences of climate change. Over the last two decades or so, the country has experienced the worst effects of extreme weather events worldwide. Due to climate change, there have been changes in Myanmar’s monsoon seasons, and our farmers need to adapt to the changing weather pattern.
With rainfall patterns changing and Myanmar receiving less rainfall in the last rainy season, the flow of water into dams has decreased this year.
A fall in the water level in the dams mean thirstier winter and summer crops, quenched with less water supply from dams.
The situation has rung alarm bells and brought into focus the need to fundamentally rethink our current agricultural practices, water usage, and food systems.
We need to prepare for supplying supplementary water to summer crops, including paddy, in order to prevent a decline in summer paddy production.
To help farmers adapt to climate change in terms of changing crops and agricultural systems and farming methods, the responsible departments are obliged to cooperate and coordinate with each other in making the necessary preparations.
It is the responsibility of the local agricultural departments to give advice to farmers in catchment areas on changing crops, depending on the situation of irrigation water supply, so that the production of crops does not drop.
The climate is prompting us to carry out a ‘massive’ adaptation and we need to meet this challenge with urgency and resolve.
The lower inflow of water into dams in the last rainy season is likely to hit summer crops hard in Nay Pyi Taw, Sagaing, Mandalay, and Magway.
When it comes to adapting to climate change, we need to be careful not to undermine food security and farmer livelihoods.
Adaptation efforts must focus on the needs of smallholder farmers, who will be the hardest hit and are the least equipped to cope. They will be on the front lines in the battle for adaptation.
Farmers are fundamental to food security in Myanmar and they are extremely vulnerable to climate. Building the resilience of our farmers is an urgent climate adaptation priority.

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