Thailand – Local Community’s Adaptation to Climate Change Impacts

Sam Sob Bon community is located in the upstream highland area of Mae Raek Watershed in Tha Pha Sub-district, Mae Chaem District, Chiang Mai Province. All households in Sam Sob Bon practice upland and lowland farming for their living. They plant rice annually for household consumption and other plants such as red onions, pumpkins, maize, and peanut as a major source of income.

During the past few years, the climate situation had an impact on this community and its nearby watershed area: rainfall deficits in the dry season, heavy rainfalls, changing rainfall patterns and hails (frozen rain), flash flood, and land slide in the rainy season. Because the crops of the farmers of the community are rainfed, they were highly affected by the climate change impacts during the dry season, especially on the quality and quantity of agricultural products. Although the stream water is available for the whole year-round in the community, many farmers could not do the plantation in the dry season because of insufficient water supply to support the farming areas.  So, their sources of income became more limited.

Consequently, Raks Thai Foundation has worked together with the community representatives under Where the Rain Falls (WtRF) phase II project to improve the water management system in the area, in order to support small holder farmers in Sam Sob Bon village to reduce the risk and vulnerability to climate change, and also to increase their income security. The main outcomes expected are to develop a better water management system to sufficiently support the whole villagers to farm all-year-round, and to develop a group of role model for integrated farming.

A community-based water management working group was formed composed of male and female farmers. They participated in the climate vulnerability and capacity assessment and learned to use the assessment results to design the Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) initiative project in the area. They proposed it to receive a financial and technical support from the WtRF project. Moreover, the CCA planning was presented to other community members to get the agreement.

Mrs. Suda Silapaamphai, one of the working group committee said that “the improved water management system and increased water catchment in Sam Sob Bon Farming area will help me and other farmers to be able to do more plantation during the dry season.  At present, we can plant crops, mainly in the rainy season because of insufficient water supply. However, it is also a risk that the agricultureal products can be damaged from a heavy rain. Besides, the road in the rainy season is quite bad and dificult. So the human effort and financial cost  of transportation from the village to the market is very high.  If we can do more plantation in the dry season with enough water supply, we may get better and more income from selling our products”.

Mrs.Suda is in the middle with other female working group committees.