Eat, Act, Pray - February
In the past, Cambodian farmers could expect to plant their rice crops in June when the rainy season started in order to harvest it in November. However in the past decade, increasingly unpredictable rains are threatening this very basic need for survival.
'Some years, we seem to get drought at the beginning of the rainy season and rains at the beginning of the dry season. We end up getting into debt because the crops fail.'
Tea Kor, and her husband Krouch Eng, own half a hectare of rice fields.
'We used to grow just our rice and we had a few cows for ploughing the field. We grew a few vegetables for the family to eat as well…'
Until recently, farmers in this region had little knowledge or resources to be able to adapt their agriculture to become more resilient in these turbulent times.
That is until a community organisation (known as PADEK), supported by Christian Aid, implemented a local system of rice intensification to increase rice yields by using less land and applying organic fertilizers and pesticides. The farmers also branched out to cultivate fish, chickens and pigs, for sale at the local market.
'Now we grow vegetables to sell during the dry season. It’s very profitable and we can plant different vegetables nearly all year round. We have livestock to sell if we need to. Plus we eat fish from our pond that we dug in front of the house.'
'If it rains when it should we can do our rice farming and hope to increase the yields using new techniques so we can even sell some of it. If it doesn’t rain, then we can use the water from the pond and the well to grow vegetables which we sell profitably. Life is much better!'
Talk It Over
The increasing pressures which farmers like Tea Kor’s family face are echoed around the globe. Climate change is threatening global food production chains and, although short term solutions and adapting techniques plug the gaps, the future is less certain.
Think about you last meal. Do you know where the ingredients came from? Were they produced locally or halfway around the world? Reflect on how reliant we are on global food imports for the food we enjoy.
Discuss the threat of climate change. Are we worrying about nothing? How might we adapt if not?
What can we do about it? What small changes can we make in our lifestyles to ensure we’re living in harmony with the world around us?
First, watch this film:
Feb 14th is Valentine’s Day and there’s no better time to make some noise about the things we want to protect from climate change.
Lord, help us be the change we wish to see in the world.
Give us the audacity to believe that complicated systems and structures can be toppled by the smallest voice.
Help us be brave in the face of adversity and outspoken on issues of truth and justice.
Through you, all things are possible.