Master’s Thesis Defense - Tum Nhim - July 20

Date: July 20, 2015
Location: Natural Resources RM 320

Towards Building Drought Resilience of Rice Production in Cambodia: From a System Dynamic Perspective

Master’s Thesis Defense


Tum Nhim

July 20, 2015

Time: 9 a.m.

Natural Resources, Room 320


The future of Cambodia’s rainfed rice cultivation is associated with high risks and uncertainties in the face of climate change. The projected increases in drought frequency and its uneven distribution over seasons and across places due to climate change coupling with low adaptive capacity of rural farmers speaks out the necessity to build drought resilience as an immediate action. The main objectives of this study were to identify sources of drought resilience at household and community level and explore agricultural and nonagricultural options to improve community resilience. To meet the objectives, a system dynamic model for drought resilience was developed and data from group discussions and household survey were used as model inputs and simulation scenarios using descriptive statistics, two-step cluster analysis, and multiple regressions. The results of the study show that access to irrigation is the most important source for resilience at both household and community level. Improving access to irrigation to the threshold level of approximately 40% or more can help maintain stability and continuous development of rice production over time. Another important source for resilience is diversification. Agricultural diversification such as spatial diversification of paddy lands and varietal diversification can reduce the risk of being lost due to drought, while nonfarm diversifications such as remittance from migration and local wage provide opportunities to maintain current status of rice cultivation or improve beyond this. Despite nonfarm activities are sources for resilience at household or group level, they can undermine drought resilience at community level. Furthermore, dependence on rice and nonfarm income can also affect resilience to drought. The resilient group is associated with average and similar degree of dependence on both rice and nonfarm income, while the vulnerable one places more importance on nonfarm income than farm income. 

Committee Members:

  • Dr. Laura Schmitt Olabisi, Chairperson
  • Dr. John Kerr
  • Dr. Maria Claudia Lopez