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Southeast Asia

Farmers walk on a rice field in southern Vietnam on December 10, 2014. Photo credit: AFP

Poor small-scale farmers are the world's biggest risk takers.

Imagine a poor farmer who owns a small plot of land. She buys seeds with cash she borrows from a trader and must find a way to manage pests without killing her vegetables. She must guess when and when not to plant because weather patterns are no longer predictable.

She farms even if she knows her produce will compete and probably lose to cheaper ones imported from state-subsidized industrial mono-crop farms elsewhere. In her 50s to 60s (the average age of farmers), she gambles season after season, because agriculture is the livelihood – and the life – she knows.

Read more: How the risk-taking farmers of Southeast Asia will survive climate change

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BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Southeast Asian governments must help farmers find better ways to grow food in the face of worsening droughts, storms and sea level rise that are threatening the region's agricultural output and pushing people into poverty, Oxfam said on Tuesday.

As the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) integrate into a single economic market - allowing for freer flow of goods, labor and capital - they must help farmers adapt to climate change and practice sustainable agriculture, which will boost incomes and ensure food security, Oxfam said.

Read more: SE Asia must help farmers adapt in face of mounting disasters: Oxfam

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Policy-makers and stakeholders from Southeast Asia jointly building climate-resilient future agriculture policies. Photo: Elisabeth van de Grift

Under uncertain futures, decision-makers and researchers from across the Mekong region in Southeast Asia are reviewing their agriculture and climate policies.

As one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions, Southeast Asia is facing a number of challenges. Climate change and variability are among the greatest unknowns, and are likely to have far-reaching effects on food security, environments and livelihoods, especially when they interact with uncertainty around key socio-economic development drivers.

In the face of these uncertain futures, decision-makers and researchers from across the Mekong region in Southeast Asia met last year to ask hard questions about the feasibility of their policies and their implementations.

Read more: Sustainable trade-offs: testing Southeast Asian policies in the face of an uncertain future

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LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Densely populated Southeast Asian island states such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and the Philippines are likely to face more intense climate events in the future, analysts said on Thursday.

Read more: Southeast Asia faces increasingly intense climate events: analysts

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