Project Alba - Is Cambodia prepared for climate related drought?
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The Phnom Penh Post asks this weekend is Cambodia ready for drought again? At Project Alba we understand how devastating a ‘no’ answer is to farmers across the country.

The effects of climate change can have a severe impact on low income farmers who may already be struggling to support their families year round. The loss of even one crop is a big challenge for some farmers. As climate change becomes ever more evident it’s clear that collectively we need to do more to better prepare for its impact

The work of Project Alba is crucial.

As we pointed out in 2015, during the last El Nino, a naturally occurring weather phenomenon which scientists have suggested is being further exasperated by climate change, some of the work of our farmers had to stall because of the drought and subsequent lack of water.

What is Project Alba doing?

Our highly qualified technical teams are working with 100 farmers to ensure that they are adapting their land to address potential climate impacts. We have worked with them on new techniques including water management to ensure they can stretch their water supplies further than before and that their crops are adapted to drought and heat.

The scale of the farms we work with means we have to limit the amount of money we invest per farm. The best investment solution we found was to improve access to superficial water resources, such as ponds or wells.

These superficial water resources are the most renewable ones - they get filled up every year during the rainy season. This means our long term impact on underground water resources is virtually inexistent.

However, these resources are also the most susceptible to climate change, which means that although they allow the farmers to extend their growing season, they are not by themselves capable of solving the problem.

That’s why we use an integrated approach, where improving water resources is only part of the solution. Reducing water consumption is essential. We do that through drip irrigation systems, organic mulching and carefully selecting the crops

It’s is due to our climate adaptation work as well as our wider programme of diversify crops and generating a more regular turnover of produce that many farmers we work with are more than doubling their annual income.

Project Alba has the capacity, skills and ambition to reach even more farmers across Cambodia so that they don’t face such an uncertain future.

If you are interested in getting involved in our Research and Development work please get in touch.

Michelle Lowery, 17th February 2017