This study on climate change, and its impact on agriculture, has involved two separate, but related, components: (i) analysing the changes in climate over the last 100 years and the likely change in climate up to 2050; (ii) assessing the climate suitability of crops in current climate conditions and how suitability will be affected by climate change. According to these results, some adaptation and mitigation measures seem to be more interesting and effective than others considering Vietnam’s conditions.
The first objective for adaptation policies should be to improve resilience of production systems to changing climates. Improving varieties to have drought resisting characteristics, natural resource management, and advanced agrichemicals are proven effective ways of decreasing susceptibility to individual stresses, and should offer increasingly important solutions for adapting to progressive climate change. These adaptation options may be especially useful for enhancing resilience in areas where precipitation variability appears to be an important factor of uncertainty for future crops suitability. The areas of Vietnam to consider for these adaptation options vary for each crop. There are three results to consider in determining areas of uncertainty in future crop suitability due to precipitation. The first is that all crops studied have associated areas within Vietnam where precipitation is a limiting factor for suitability, with crops displaying a range in the area from small to the entire country for maize and rice. Secondly, precipitation is highly variable and therefore hard to model for the future across Vietnam, as well as globally. Third, modelling future suitability presents uncertainty for several crops. These results suggest that adaptation options and policies are needed that can address these issues of uncertainty.
Consideration of a wide range of possible measures is needed to decrease susceptibility of crops to individual stress from precipitation variability, especially where uncertainty in future suitability is high. Irrigation and good water management practices should be developed in these areas as they are necessary to improve current production of rice and maize, but also will be able to limit climate change effects on rainfed systems, such as rainfall variability and extreme events. Locally, diversifying crops can be a good way of limiting negative effects of climate change on yields and production, but the diversification process must be supervised and access to markets facilitated. Silvo-pastoral systems (SPS) are another high-potential adaptive strategy. Tea appears to be the crop most potentially affected by climate change. Development of new tea varieties is vital to limit the loss in yields and production. Important mitigation measures focusing on carbon sequestration, such as logging bans and forest cover targets, should be enforced. Sustainable development goals may also be tied more closely to climate change adaptation; in the future, adaptation could be mainstreamed as part of development and agricultural policy.
Written by Agus Nugroho on 30 May. 2014