Climate change impacting food security in Bhutan: Agriculture Minister

According to Agriculture Minister, Lyonpo Yeshey Penjore, climate change will ultimately result into drying up of water resources and this will impact the production of agricultural resources.

Lyonpo said that if we go by the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and research publication of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the threats of climate change is very serious and alarming and for Bhutan needs to take a little step ahead to prepare itself.

He said, “The moment we lose our water resources and wet land, rice cultivation will be impacted and the moment the soil moisture content changes our dry land cultivation will change. With pest and diseases, all form of cultivation will be impacted. Food security is definitely vulnerable to climate change. “

“Bhutan is already witnessing the impact of climate change, as many invasive plant species are found growing in the country, there is drying up of water resources, glacier receding at accelerating pace. Even soil moisture evaporation will accelerate,” Lyonpo said.

Citing few examples, Lyonpo said, “Things that have been growing in southern belts are migrating to high altitude region and in this way people who in the south have to find a new way to make their living which calls for adaptation to climate change.“

He said, “Right from water resources to food resources and even our lifestyles has to change to adapt to climate change so the impact of climate change is not only on the food resources but also on the livelihood of the people and that is why the vulnerability of the people of mountain ecosystem has been recognized in the UNFCCC as well as the IPCC report.”

“The mandarin cultivation which was practiced only in the southern parts of the country is now doing well in Trashiyangtse, Trashigang and Mongar which are at higher elevation. Besides, every year we receive complaints from the farmers from southern region that they are not doing so well in mandarin cultivation, “Lyonpo said.

“Similarly, the rice cultivation which was doing well in southern regions like sarpang, Samtse and Tsirang would be doing well in places 500 meters above these places. These are clear indication how people will suffer with food resources, “he added.

Lyonpo said that it is very important for people to understand how climate will impact them and the people must be more prepared to adapt to climate change threats.  He said that the Bhutan is continuously participating in the climate change negotiation and tabling its challenges for support from partners.

“We also need to change our developmental plan in accordance with emerging climate change threat which means that even from food resources we need to change our dietary habits and we need to adapt to drought resistant cropping pattern and this are some of the adaptive measures that we need to undertake,” he said.

“Even our five-year plan has to change more and more to climate change threats on how to get more prepared and adapt to climate change. This is what I have been talking at round table meeting, parliament and cabinet meetings,” added Lyonpo.

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