“Lower Mekong Basin (LMB) is one of significant region in ASEAN. More than 45 million people dwelling in LMB rely on fisheries and agriculture. However, climate change plus overfishing, pollution, landuse and landcover conversion reduce wild fish stock and agricultural crop. To meet the need of aquatic living resources and agriculture production as vital food source and income under climate change pressure, appropriate technology such as RACA should be introduced”
What is RACA?
Rural Aquaculture and Conservation Agriculture (RACA) system as combination approach represents climate-smart adaptation. RACA is a system for coping with the impact of climate change and climate variability focusing on adaptation technology in agricultural sector including fisheries and forestry. RACA will be one of tangible option for dealing climate change impacts in LMB. This initiative is a community-based climate change adaptation. RACA aims to help finding a new ways to adapt and develop under climate change and climate variability. What is the principle of RACA and key elements? RACA is the combination of 1) rural aquaculture and 2) conservation agriculture science & technology.
This initiative is already consulted with experts and approved by the director of Climate Change Management Coordination Division as author’s supervisor, Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning under Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Thailand as host ministry. They also suggested that it would be better to determine a map of RACA zoning and their attribute using GIS, GPS and Remote Sensing technology.
Three (3) Principles of Rural aquaculture
- Perform at small-scale farming households or communities
- Use production technology appropriate in selected area and species
- Minimum use of formulated feeds.
Three (3) Principle of Conservation Agriculture
- Minimum tillage/Zero tillage/Minimum soil disturbances
- Soil cover/Mulching/Continue mulch
- Diverse species/Crop rotation.
Climate change and rural communities
Rural community has been looking for adaptation options that can be implemented by their own at households and communities level. Climate change is a challenge to their food system, but it’s also an opportunity for them to learn, adapt and build innovation. It’s easy to mention but difficult to achieve. Thus, we must work together to become climate smarter. The policy maker must support the necessary technical policy and invest solution that rural communities need. As climate change will affect fisheries resources and agriculture production starting from village level up to global level. The result will be increased hunger. Climate change influence the distribution of plant and animal species, distribution and abundance of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, influence human health, both directly and indirectly. Therefore, benefits of RACA in rural development are 1) improve food security, health and nutrition, 2) generate employment and income, 3) reduce vulnerability and 4) increase efficiency small-scale farming system. Keywords of productivity, stability, sustainability, equitability and autonomy must be taken into account in the process. Moreover, climate change adaptation knowledge such as RACA should be established in ASEAN networks and priorities first on LMB starting from rural communities expand to regional scale. In terms of knowledge awareness and participation, women and children are encouraged to be involved.
About the Author:
Dr. Puvadol Doydee is the ASEAN-U.S. Science and Technology Fellow 2016 working on climate change and climate variability thematic area. He received his B.Sc. in Fisheries from Kasetsart University, Thailand (1998), M.Sc. in Information Technology for Natural Resources Management from Institut Pertanian Bogor, Indonesia (2002) and Ph.D. in Environmental Science from University of the Philippines Los Baños, Philippines (2008).