The Mekong Study Tour
From 9 to 14 September, a delegation of Myanmar representatives of the Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems (DWIR), the Environmental Conservation Department (ECD), the Forest Department, the Irrigation and Water Utilization Management Department (IWUMD) and the Departments of Agriculture (DOA) and Department of Fisheries (DOF), visited the Mekong delta in Vietnam. The study tour, funded by the Dutch Enterprise Agency (RVO), aimed to build capacity among participants in dealing with climate adaptation activities. On behalf of the Vietnam government, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development set up this tour in coordination with the embassy of the Netherlands in Hanoi and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The ambitious programme, provided by IUCN, showed delegates adaptation in integrated mangrove shrimp farms, rice-aquaculture, coastal erosion and rice-lotus farms.
Aung Myint Oo, water resources officer at the Dutch embassy in Yangon, took part in the delegation that visited Ca Mau province. He reported that the group observed how shrimp business was integrated with salt water intrusion in the delta and how it was scaled up to intensive shrimp production, generating profitable and thriving business. Moreover, local conditions also provided an environment to integrate rice farming with shrimp farming activities. In addition, land-use policies in combination with aqua-culture business models provided insights on how the Myanmar government could work together with local farmers to boost business opportunities.
In Bac Lieu, the delegation witnessed how coastal erosion is tackled using local materials, such as bamboo, creating a shore line defense system. In addition, flood based agriculture, developed by local farmers in cooperation with the Vietnamese government, inspired delegates to adapt farming practices to floods. Last but not least, a visit to an integrated rice and lotus farming system linked agriculture to eco-tourism. The increasing interest by tourists to visit eco-friendly business can be an incentive for Myanmar business to profit from climate adaptation investments. According to Aung Myint Oo, the Myanmar delegates appreciated the study tour to Vietnam and expressed that they learned more than they had expected and can't wait to put their experiences into practice in Myanmar.