Ayeyarwady Region, Myanmar – May 2019
The Ayeyarwady Delta is a key site of agricultural production in Myanmar, considered to be the “rice bowl” of the country. However, the region is also highly vulnerable to the impacts of natural hazards and climate change.
Agro-meteorology is concerned with the use of information of weather and climate to enhance or expand crops and agricultural production. Agro-meteorological forecasts and advisories can help farmers to timely and effectively plan and manage crops, sowing, ploughing and harvesting dates, reduce losses of applied chemicals and fertilizers (when rain is forecast), reduce pest and disease outbreaks, and manage extreme weather events like typhoons, heavy rainfall, floods and drought. As part of the project “Strengthening Climate and Disaster Resilience of Myanmar Communities”, ICEM is in the process of procuring and installing new agro-meteorological stations and instruments in the Ayeyarwady Region to improve infrastructure and capacity for agro-meteorological forecasting.
In May, ICEM experts conducted a field mission, visiting existing stations in Pathein, Labutta, Bogale and Phyapon Townships and meeting with local officials and technical staff from the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH), the Department of Agriculture (DOA), and the Department of Rural Development (DRD). The purpose of the mission was to understand the current network, data coverage, maintenance needs and challenges of existing stations to inform the placement and instruments required in the new stations, and improve the information flow and data sources for the Myanmar Meteorological Bulletin. The team inspected daily recordings and learned about the procedure of data transfer for the manual recordings. This involves data being registered and transferred to the Regional Office, then to the Naypyidaw Central office where it is archived. The Myanmar Meteorological Bulletin is currently prepared by DMH in Yangon and released by the Head Office in Naypyidaw using data collected from the station array.
Solar panels and instrument box at JICA station in Pathein
When procured and installed, the new stations, together with capacity building, optimized information flow, and an enhance bulletin will allow for improved seasonal agro-meteorological forecasts and advisories that will support the resilience of Myanmar’s agricultural sector, farmers and women’s rural livelihoods.