KOH KONG & MONDULKIRI PROVINCES, CAMBODIA – April 25 – May 6, 2016: Climate Resilience Team Conducts Scoping Missions in Koh Kong, Mondulkiri Provinces, Cambodia

ICEM’s Cambodia-based climate resilience team has wrapped up two scoping missions as part of its project, Mainstreaming Climate Resilience into Development Planning.

Koh Kong Province

The team visited three districts in Koh Kong province between 25 and 29 April. Residents in two of the three districts rely heavily on fishing as their primary source of income. Eco-tourism and limited rice agriculture help to supplement incomes, but salinity intrusion threatens both of these industries. Mangrove restoration projects and other grey infrastructure measures commonly used to hold back salinity have met with varying levels of success.

Mangrove forest restoration, Koh Kong

Mangrove forest restoration, Koh Kong

The third district depends on low risk/low yield rice cropping to support itself. The district faces similar salinity intrusion issues, but the rice variety grown in the district is tolerant to high levels of salinity and short term flooding.

Meeting with Peam Krasop community, Koh Kong

Meeting with members of the Peam Krasop commune, Koh Kong District, Koh Kong province

Among residents in districts already served by projects like the ADB’s Biodiversity Conservation Corridor, knowledge and understanding of climate change is relatively high. More work will have to be done, however, in regions not yet touched by these types of projects.

Mondulkiri Province

The team visited three districts in landlocked Monudulkiri province between 2 and 5 May. Agriculture plays a key role in each district, though crops and production methods vary by district.

Irrigation infrastructure supports dry season rice cropping in one district, but limited maintenance means much of the infrastructure is in poor repair. Most household subsistence rice crops are grown during the wet season, so while immediate needs are met, livelihoods in the district are impacted by insufficient irrigation water.

Sluice gate, Koh Neak District, Mondulkiri

Newly installed sluice gate, Koh Neak District, Mondulkiri

Another district embarked on its own crop diversification projects. Economically successful agricultural practices have not stopped illegal logging in the region, though, which is causing forest degradation even in regions being supported by Biodiversity Conservation Corridor. Water availability is also a perennial issue.

Water availability causes issues in the third district as well. A well-managed durian and organic coffee plantation operates at marginal profitability, mainly on account of limited water for drip irrigation and low coffee prices.

Water management challenges may prove the most difficult to overcome with regard to climate change in coming years.

Irrigation dam, Koh Neak District, Mondulkiri

New irrigation dam, Koh Neak District, Mondulkiri