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Cycle 7 (2018 Deadline)

Climate change impact on rice yield and food security in the riverine communities in Cambodia

PI: Serey Sok (, Royal University of Phnom Penh
U.S. Partner: Aniruddha Ghosh, University of California, Davis
Dates: November 2018 - October 2020

Project Overview

This research project will focus on assessing impacts of climate change on rice yield leading to food insecurity in Cambodia. Climate change directly or indirectly contributes to declines in rice yield, leading to food insecurity. Vulnerability of agricultural systems to extreme climate events is often linked to the adaptive capacity of local farmers. Therefore, improving local adaptive capacity is important to sustaining the rural livelihood of riverine communities of Cambodia. The researchers conducting this project have designed it to build upon statistical and geospatial modeling techniques, using information from different sources of secondary data and field work at the national and provincial levels, especially interviews with key informants. This research will combine both conceptualization and empirical data through statistical analysis and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to ascertain the negative impacts from climate change leading to declines in rice yields and increased food insecurity. This research will also involve interviews with local people and officials from government agencies and NGOs, an extensive literature review, and case studies.

7-085 2019 Survey7-085 2019 Survey 2
Team members conduct a survey in the Pursat and Battambang Provinces. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Sok)

Most previous studies focusing on Tonle Sap Lake have been conducted by regional and international organizations. While the findings are broadly reached, they do not always comprehensively fit the Cambodian context. Domestic institutions have mostly been the subjects of the project evaluations or assessments, but this study will be led by a local Cambodian academic researcher. He and his team will engage with a wide range of stakeholders, including regional and national experts, local villagers, and representatives of government agencies and NGOs at the various stages of this project. They will organize consultative meetings to facilitate interaction among the various stakeholders, present their preliminary findings, collect feedback, and discuss policy applications and future planning. This development dialogue among the stakeholders will be critical to bridging the gaps between academic research, planning, and policy implementation.

Summary of Recent Activities

Training events and field data collection were the focus of this PEER team during the second quarter of 2019. On May 7-9, team members participated in a training course for numerators on how to conduct field interviews using tablets and GPS. The training was hosted and led by fellow PEER PI Dr. Sanara Hor, Dean of the Faculty of Land Management at the Royal University of Agriculture (RUA). RUA also provided tablets and GPS devices for use in the field work. The eight participants from RUPP included PI Dr. Sok Serey, Dr. Chhinh Nyda, Mr. Sam Ath Boromey, Mr. Long Phanith, Mr. Teng Puthy, Mr. Sao Bonat, Mr. Reun Rithy, and Mr. Sam Ath Kancharith. Thanks to this training and the practical experience shared by the RUA trainers, the five numerators recruited from among the new bachelor’s degree recipients from the university’s Department of Sociology were able to start the first field work campaign, which took place May 10-15, 2019. Conducted in Bakan District of Pursat Province, the data collection effort covered the Rural Household Multi-Indicator Survey (RHoMIS), climate impacts, and measurements of field plots and rice fields. A total of 127 households were contacted for the interview within this six-day survey. From June 26 to July 1, the team conducted their second field campaign, this time in Sangke District of Battambang Province, contacting 136 households.

In addition to working closely with Dr. Sanara’s PEER team at RUA, Dr. Serey and his group have also cooperated with district administration offices and Commune Councils (CoCs) and village administrations in the two study provinces. The district and commune officials helped to explain the detailed purpose of the team’s research and were especially helpful in facilitating the use of GPS for measuring rice fields and land plots. In many cases, the respondents initially were not very comfortable allowing this measurement, and even with the involvement of the officials about 30% refused the researchers' request, either due to lack of trust or to the fact that their fields were located inconveniently far from their homes. Heavy daily monsoon rains also caused some delays, but the PI reports that analysis of the data collected from the two study provinces will be enough for him and his team to write their first paper on the project, with input from their colleagues at RUA and their U.S. partner Dr. Aniruddha Ghosh. A draft of the first paper should be completed by the end of this year.

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