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October 18, 2019

Good preparation, management key to overcoming challenges in agro sector

With Myanmar experiencing the impact of climate change, the agricultural, livestock and irrigation sector, which is related to the climate, needs innovation and systematic management so it can adapt to the changing situation.
Only good preparation and management can help the country and the people overcome predictable and unpredictable disasters, and reduce their risk.
The Irrigation Department releases data on the water storage capacity in the dams and the volume of irrigation water it can provide to farmlands every year. Farmers, on their part, can choose suitable crops and plan farming methods and inputs to ensure a good harvest.
For instance, the Thaphanseik Dam in Kyunhla Township, Kantbalu District, Sagaing Region, has recorded the lowest water level in 18 years.
The dam, which has a storage capacity of 2.8 million acre feet and a catchment area of 491,687 acres, had about 518,000 acre feet of water as of 30 August this year. Since the end of June, the local Irrigation Department has announced that farmers in the catchment areas can use the irrigation water and supply water to their farmlands.
In this predictable situation, local farmers would also have to do their part to change their farming strategy quickly, climate wise. Market wise, they must all scrutinize which would be the most beneficial and profitable crop.
Meanwhile, this year, natural disasters such as floods and drought have affected more than 270,000 acres of groundnut farms and over 1.3 million acres of sesame farms in the early monsoon season in Magway Region, which mainly grows oil crops. The region has over 1.3 million acres of land under peas and pulses cultivation.
A change in climate is being witnessed not year by year, but month by month. Crops that grew well in the past may no longer show good yields due to climate change.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation will educate and distribute as much news and information as possible to farmers. The government will help and assist them, but farmers and peasants themselves must have the will to study. Planting methods and crops need to be changed. Continuous study must be undertaken and appropriate and timely changes made.
Faced with changing weather patterns and a declining market for beans and pulses, local farmers in Meiktila Township profited by turning to long staple cotton to cope with the impact of climate change and market last year.
Farmers and fishermen are important for our country’s economy as well as for the food sufficiency of our people.
Civil servants working in the farmland sector are also urged to go down to the grassroots level to encourage modern farming methods so that farmers can overcome predictable challenges.

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